NASA’s Juno spacecraft arrives at Jupiter

Cheers and wild applause erupted in the control room at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory at 8:53 – Juno had entered orbit around Jupiter, just one second off the predicted time.

It was a jubilant end to a nearly five-year journey that saw Juno travel 1.8 billion miles from Earth to the solar system’s largest planet.

The engineers had been waiting quietly for the final signal that would tell them the spacecraft had completed its 35-minute main burn sequence. Upon hearing it, they high-fived and hugged and punched firsts into the air.

“Welcome to Jupiter,” they repeated to one another.

A mere minutes after Juno had entered Jupiter’s embrace, Michael Watkins — who took over as JPL director on Friday – was already treating the orbit insertion like old news.

“It’s the end of the voyage, but it’s the beginning of the science,” he said on NASA TV.

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Sasha Perkins

Administrative Assistant and Journalist at the Pluto Daily since 2012.