Juno enters safe mode prior to Jupiter close approach

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Because Juno entered safe mode prior to its close approach of Jupiter today, no science data was gathered.

NASA’s Juno spacecraft entered safe mode Tuesday, Oct. 18 at about 10:47 p.m. PDT (Oct. 19 at 1:47 a.m. EDT). Early indications are a software performance monitor induced a reboot of the spacecraft’s onboard computer. The spacecraft acted as expected during the transition into safe mode, restarted successfully and is healthy. High-rate data has been restored, and the spacecraft is conducting flight software diagnostics. All instruments are off, and the planned science data collection for today’s close flyby of Jupiter (perijove 2), did not occur. “At the time safe mode was entered, the spacecraft was more than 13 hours from its closest approach to Jupiter,” said Rick Nybakken, Juno project manager from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. “We were still quite a ways from the planet’s more intense radiation belts and magnetic fields. The spacecraft is healthy and we are working our standard recovery procedure.”

This problem, combined with the thruster valve problem that prevented engineers from putting the spacecraft into its proper 14-day science orbit today, is significantly delaying science operations. They will not be able to adjust the orbit again until its next close approach December 11 (assuming the thruster problem has been solved by then), and until then it will also not be able to do much science.

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