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Juno spacecraft set to begin epic journey

Posted: April 7, 2011

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Leaving the confines of a Lockheed Martin factory tucked into the foothills of Colorado, NASA's Juno spacecraft will fly to Florida aboard a U.S. Air Force cargo plane Friday to start preparing for launch to Jupiter in August.

These photos show Juno inside a sealed box being loaded onto a transport trailer Thursday at Lockheed Martin's Waterton Canyon facility southwest of Denver.

The images also show one of the GRAIL satellites being built to travel to the moon this fall and a new docking simulation facility with full-scale mock-ups of space station modules and the Orion spacecraft.

A truck and trailer back into the clean room airlock at Lockheed Martin's Waterton Canyon facility in southwest Denver. The Juno spacecraft was loaded on the trailer Thursday afternoon in preparation for shipment to Cape Canaveral the next day. Photo credit: Stephen Clark/Spaceflight Now


Sealed inside a specially-built container, the Juno spacecraft will be transported by truck to a nearby military base in suburban Denver and fly to the Kennedy Space Center in an Air Force C-17 cargo plane. Photo credit: Stephen Clark/Spaceflight Now


Juno is scheduled for liftoff Aug. 5 on an Atlas 5 rocket. It will reach orbit around Jupiter in July 2016. Photo credit: Stephen Clark/Spaceflight Now


In the room next door to Juno, Lockheed Martin is preparing the GRAIL mission to study the moon's gravity field. GRAIL consists of two spacecraft to be launched in September to circle the moon. Photo credit: Stephen Clark/Spaceflight Now


Lockheed Martin recently unveiled the Space Operations Simulation Center, a high-fidelity laboratory designed for large-scale docking simulations with a variety of spacecraft. The lab's first user is the Orion spacecraft, a capsule officials hope will be the baseline for the vehicle to carry astronauts into deep space later this decade. Photo credit: Stephen Clark/Spaceflight Now