© JIVE, University of Tasmania, Guifre Molera Calvés
Planetary Radio Interferometry and Doppler Experiment (PRIDE) of the JUICE mission, while having no dedicated onboard instrumentation, conducts observations of the spacecraft from the first days of the New Earth Commissioning Phase (NECP). This phase has started immediately after the mission launch on 14 April 2023 and will last for about 2.5 months. The major PRIDE assets are a global network of radio telescopes and data processing centers. To be prepared for science operations with JUICE, these assets should be “tuned up”, checked and maintained in fully operational state. As a part of this activity, three radio telescopes, operated by the University of Tasmania (Australia), a PRIDE partner, has begun monitoring the JUICE radio signal from the first days of the in-flight operations.
One of the monitoring observations of JUICE was conducted with three PRIDE 12-m radio telescopes located in Australia: Hobart (Tasmania), Katherine (Northern Territory), and Yarragadee (Western Australia). The signal, detected in these observations, demonstrate the expected strength and stability. During these observations, the spacecraft was at about 7.8 million km from Earth. The University of Tasmania antennas have been tracking the JUICE spacecraft on a regular basis 3 to 4 times per week to calibrate the PRIDE ground-based instrumentation, verify data processing software and maintain operational readiness for future science observations. The ongoing monitoring PRIDE campaign also contributes into studies of space weather.