Earth to help slingshot NASA spacecraft toward Jupiter

10/8/2013 | Space.com

NASA's Juno spacecraft will get a gravitational boost from Earth as it buzzes by at 3:21 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday on its way to Jupiter. "Even a large rocket couldn't provide enough propulsion to get us all the way to Jupiter, so we are flying by the Earth for a gravity-assist that will provide about 70% of the initial boost provided by the Atlas V 551 rocket. The gravity assist essentially provides as much propulsion as a second rocket launch," said Scott Bolton, the mission's principal investigator. Juno was launched in 2011 and is expected to reach Jupiter in 2016.

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