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Video: NASA's Jupiter probe blasts off aboard massive rocket

August 5, 2011 | 12:58 pm

With a thunderous blastoff, a massive rocket lifted the NASA spacecraft Juno into space Friday on a five-year, 1.7-billion-mile trip to Jupiter.

Watch the event above or here as the 19-story Atlas V rocket roars to life and climbs beyond the confines of Earth.

The booster is made by United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of aerospace giants Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp. Parts of the rocket are made by ULA in San Diego, and some of the rocket engines are manufactured by Canoga Park-based Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne.

The Atlas V blasted off at 9:25 a.m. PDT from Cape Canaveral, Fla.

Affixed atop the massive rocket was Juno, which is set to “produce the first comprehensive mapping of Jupiter's gravitational and magnetic fields, and answer a longstanding debate over whether there is a solid core inside Jupiter's swirling bands of gas. Juno is also expected to yield the first solid reading of water and oxygen on Jupiter,” as the Times told you here.

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge is managing the $1.1-billion mission. Scientists hope that the endeavor will unlock clues to Earth's origins.

RELATED:

NASA's Juno spacecraft launches on journey to Jupiter

Graphic: NASA's Juno spacecraft and its mission

Juno's Jupiter mission may yield clues to Earth's origins

-- W.J. Hennigan

twitter.com/wjhenn

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