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.