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The Israeli point of the JUICE spacecraft that will be launched to Tzedek this week

For the first time: Israel is sending a complete electronic system to a mission in deep space - the USO watch of the Israeli company Accubit, which will be a central component of the experiment of the Weizmann Institute of Science - funded by the Israel Space Agency in the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology. The launch of the JUICE spacecraft is scheduled for 13/4/2023 at 15:15 Israel time

European Space Agency control center. Credit ESA
The European Space Agency's control center in Darmstadt, Germany. Credit ESA
Exploring Jupiter and Ganymede - an artist impression. Figure: European Space Agency
Exploration of Jupiter and Ganymede by the JUICE spacecraft - an artist's impression. Figure: European Space Agency

The European Space Agency ESA plans to launch the historic JUICE mission to the planet Jupiter on Thursday, 13/4/2023 at 15:15 Israel time. The spacecraft will be launched on top of the Ariane-5 launcher, it will fly to a distance of about 900 million kilometers to the planet Jupiter and for four years will attack its moons: Europa, Ganymede and Callisto, in the largest and most prestigious mission in the history of the European Agency to date. The JUICE mission includes 12 different scientific experiments, including an Israeli experiment led by the Weizmann Institute of Science. The experiments were designed to test, among other things, the existence of underground oceans on the moons of Jupiter and whether the conditions required for life are met.
The Israeli Space Agency in the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology is a member of the Italian Space Agency (ASI) in order to carry out groundbreaking scientific experiments as part of the JUICE mission. In this framework, the agency finances the development and production of the USO device of the Acubit company, as well as a scientific experiment by Prof. Yohai Caspi from the Weizmann Institute of Science, who was appointed to be the main researcher for the hydrodynamics of the atmosphere in the mission, using the USO device.
The USO device of Accubit, the only manufacturer of atomic clocks in Israel, and one of the five that exist in the world, is the most accurate space oscillator in the world in the required field of measurements. The device, integrated into the Italian agency's 3GM system, allows the spacecraft to perform a series of experiments, and is used as part of the spacecraft's global communication system to Earth.

Accubit CEO Benny Levy. Photo: Accubit
Accubit CEO Benny Levy. Photo: Acubit

The innovative systems that will be installed on the spacecraft will allow receiving scientific data and new findings. A group of Israeli researchers led by Prof. Yohai Caspi from the Weizmann Institute of Science has been engaged in recent years in planning the orbit of the spacecraft to enable the measurements of the gravity of the planet and four of its moons, while focusing on the study of the winds in the atmosphere of Jupiter and their dependence on the effects of gravity and the magnetic field that prevails there. These measurements will allow the team to decipher the characteristics of the planet's atmosphere.
In nine other experiments in the spacecraft there are chips made by the Ramon Space company, which is also supported by the Israeli Space Agency and specializes in the production of radiation-resistant processors.
On top of the rocket of the spaceship, the drawing that won first place in the competition held by the European Space Agency among thousands of children who sent drawings from all over the world is emblazoned. Hundreds of paintings were also sent from Israel and one of the paintings from Israel was included in a special calendar issued by the European Space Agency in preparation for the launch.
Uri Oron, Director of the Israel Space Agency at the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology: "The Israel Space Agency is proud to take part in the flagship mission of the European Space Agency, both in the engineering-technological aspect, and in the research aspect. The Acubit company, which is at the global forefront of the development of atomic clocks and uses in space, is an example of the excellent engineering capabilities in Israel. I have no doubt that the research that will be carried out at the Weizmann Institute will be a central component of the mission's research program, and will continue to advance the field of space research in the State of Israel to the world front."
Prof. Yohai Caspi from the Weizmann Institute of Science: "When I came to the space agency with the idea for an Israeli experiment on JUICE about a decade ago, it sounded imaginary. But by joining hands with Acubit and with the great support of the space agency, we were able to set up a first blue-white experiment of its kind. With the help of a radio beam sent from the spacecraft through the atmosphere we will measure, thanks to the precise clock, tiny changes in the frequency of the beam. Thus, throughout the orbit of Jupiter we will get a temperature profile at a certain point and throughout the mission we will build a three-dimensional map of Jupiter's atmosphere. These data will allow us to understand the structure and composition of the first and largest planet in the solar system."
Benny Levy, CEO of Acubit: "For seven years, the best Israeli minds developed and created the world's most stable watch for deep space missions - a technological masterpiece on an international scale. Accubit's vast experience and knowledge helped develop a technology with unprecedented capabilities. We are proud and excited to be part of a historic research project whose results will bring sensational discoveries to the world of science, space and humanity in general."

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