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NASA to launch its Jupiter Europa Clipper not on SLS

Europa Clipper poster. Source: NASA

Paris, 12 February 2021. – Shift to commercial: the U.S. space agency NASA decided to launch its Europa Clipper spacecraft to the Jupiter moon not on its own, government-funded Space Launch System (SLS) but on a commercial vehicle, the project team told the press and the public at a NASA presentation in Washington, DC.

Despite guidance from U.S. Congress to launch the Jupiter moon mission on SLS, the agency decided to go for a commercial launcher; it did not disclose which one. SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy could be a frontrunner.

The Europa Clipper mission takes NASA to Jupiter’s ice-covered moon, Europa, where scientists suppose a salty global ocean with more liquid water than all of Earth’s oceans combined.

 

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