NASA has actually picked Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) of Hawthorne, California, to supply launch services for Earth’s very first objective to carry out comprehensive examinations of Jupiter’s moon Europa.
The Europa Clipper objective will release in October 2024 on a Falcon Heavy rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The overall agreement award quantity for launch services is roughly $178 million.
Europa Clipper will carry out a comprehensive study of Europa and utilize an advanced suite of science instruments to examine whether the icy moon has conditions ideal for life. Key objective goals are to produce high-resolution pictures of Europa’s surface area, identify its structure, search for indications of current or continuous geological activity, determine the density of the moon’s icy shell, look for subsurface lakes, and figure out the depth and salinity of Europa’s ocean.
NASA’s Launch Services Program at Kennedy will handle the Europa Clipper launch service. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California leads the advancement of the Europa Clipper objective in collaboration with the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Planetary Missions Program Office at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, performs program management of the Europa Clipper objective.