Space Missions


JUNO is a NASA mission launched on 5 August 2011 that will arrive in orbit around the planet Jupiter in 2016. JUNO’s goal is to understand the origin and evolution of Jupiter. Using a spinning, solar powered spacecraft JUNO will produce global maps of the gravity, magnetic fields, and atmospheric composition from a unique polar orbit with a close perijove.

SpaceDyS has a contract with the University of Pisa in order to develop an orbit determination code for the radio science experiment performed by the JUNO mission. Such code has been commissioned to the University of Pisa by the Italian Space Agency (ASI) which signed an agreement with NASA.



BepiColombo is an European Space Agency mission to be launched in 2014, with the goal of an in-depth exploration of the planet Mercury; it has been identified as one of the most challenging long-term planetary projects. Only two NASA missions had Mercury as target in the past, the Mariner 10, which flew by three times in 1974-5 and Messenger, which carried out its flybys on January and October 2008, September 2009 and started its year-long orbiter phase in March 2011. The BepiColombo mission is composed by two spacecraft to be put in orbit around Mercury. The radioscience experiment is one of the on board experiments, which would coordinate a gravimetry, a rotation and a relativity experiment, using a very accurate range and range rate tracking. These measurements will be performed by a full 5-way link to the Mercury orbiter; by exploiting the frequency dependence of the refraction index, the differences between the Doppler measurements (done in Ka and X band) and the delay give information on the plasma content along the radiowave path. In this way most of the measurements errors introduced can be removed, improving of about two orders of magnitude with respect to the past technologies.

The team of SpaceDyS advises and collaborates with Celestial Mechanics Group (CMG) of the University of Pisa on the realization of the orbit determination code that will be used for MORE (Mercury Orbiter Radioscience Experiment), the radio science experiment of the BepiColombo mission.