NASA awards SpaceX launch services contract for Europa Clipper mission


This illustration, updated in December 2020, depicts NASA’s Europa Clipper spacecraft. With an inner global ocean that’s twice the size of Earth’s oceans combined, Jupiter’s moon Europa may have the potential to harbor life. The Europa Clipper orbiter will orbit Jupiter in an elliptical path, diving close to the moon on each flight to collect data. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA has selected Space Exploration Technologies Corp (SpaceX) in Hawthorne, California, to provide launch services for the first Earth mission to conduct detailed investigations of Jupiter’s moon Europa.

The Europa Clipper mission will be launched in October 2024 on a Falcon Heavy rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The total amount of the contract award for launch services is approximately $178 million.

The Europa Clipper will conduct a detailed survey of Europe and use a sophisticated set of scientific instruments to check if the icy moon has conditions suitable for life. The main mission objectives are to produce high-resolution images of Europa’s surface, determine its composition, search for signs of recent or ongoing geological activity, measure the thickness of the lunar ice crust, search for underground lakes, and determine the depth and salinity of Europa. Ocean.

NASA’s Kennedy Launch Services Program will manage the Europa Clipper launch service. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California is leading the development of the Europa Clipper mission in partnership with the Johns Hopkins Laboratory of Applied Physics in Laurel, Maryland, for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Planetary Missions Program Office at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, manages the Europa Clipper mission program.


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