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Satnews Daily
August 10th, 2016

Antwerp Space Is All JUICEd Up

Antwerp Space, a subsidiary of German-based and listed technology group OHB SE, has been awarded a contract for the delivery of the JUICE Spacecraft’s Communication Subsystem.

Artistic rendition of the JUICE spacecraft. Image is courtesy of ESA AOES.

JUICE (JUpiter ICy moons Explorer) is the first large-class mission in the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 program. The spacecraft itself is being designed and built by prime contractor Airbus Defence & Space; the contract awarded to Antwerp Space is worth approximately EUR 18 million.

Antwerp Space is responsible for designing, integrating and testing the complete Communication Subsystem before installation onto the JUICE spacecraft. The detailed design and manufacturing of the different units will be subcontracted to various companies in Europe, under the supervision of Antwerp Space. The Communication Subsystem will enable the communication link with Earth during the JUICE mission and includes a deep-space transponder, X- and Ka-band high power amplifiers (TWTAs) and a Radio Frequency Distribution Assembly (RFDA). Also incorporated into the subsystem will be two radio-science experiments from the 3GM Experiment (Gravity and Geophysics of Jupiter and the Galilean Moons): the Ultra-Stable Oscillator (USO) and the Ka-band Transponder (KaT). These units will be provided by ESA.

Planned for launch in 2022 and arrival at Jupiter in 2029, JUICE will spend at least three years conducting detailed observations of the giant gaseous planet Jupiter and three of its largest moons, Ganymede, Callisto and Europa and will be the first spacecraft to orbit a moon (Ganymede) of a giant planet.

Antwerp Space is going to deliver a comparable system in the frame of the Exomars 2020 mission and is furthermore contributing to numerous ESA missions, e.g., the Solar Orbiter, the Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) and the data relay communication system on the ISS inside the Columbus-module.