Scalar magnetometer for JUICE: Assembly and test of spare model, system level testing and near Earth commissioning

Short Description

Starting point / motivation

The JUpiter ICy moons Explorer (JUICE) is ESA's first mission to the outer solar system. It will carry a total of ten scientific experiments to study the gas giant Jupiter and three of its largest moons, Ganymede, Callisto and Europa. The mission will be launched in June 2022 and its arrival at Jupiter will take place end of 2029.

Contents and goals

The J-MAG instrument is being developed for the JUICE mission by the J-MAG consortium, formed to implement, operate and exploit the magnetic field investigation on JUICE. The J-MAG instrument consists of a very specific design with two fluxgate vector sensors and one scalar sensor with low absolute error.

One of the fluxgate sensors and associated electronics are provided by Imperial College London, the second fluxgate sensor and associated electronics are developed by the Technical University Braunschweig and the scalar sensor and associated electronics are provided by the Space Research Institute (IWF) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Graz in close cooperation with the Institute of Experimental Physics (IEP) of the Graz University of Technology. The J-MAG magnetometer will measure the magnetic field vector and magnitude (in the bandwidth from DC to 64Hz) in the spacecraft vicinity on a 10.5 meter long boom.

The scalar sub-instrument (MAGSCA) is an optical magnetometer in a new configuration which is called Coupled Dark State Magnetometer (CDSM). Compared to previously flown optical sensors, the CDSM features a large dynamic range and no dead zones (i.e. it is able to measure the field magnitude at any point on the 4p sphere).

This project aims for 

  1. the manufacturing and assembly of the flight spare instrument,
  2. the spacecraft level verification tests with the flight model as well as the instrument level functional, environmental and performance tests with the flight spare instrument and
  3. the operation preparation and near Earth commissioning. All three tasks are essential for mission success. 

Expected results

This project is a direct successor of the developments which were elaborated under a PRODEX funded activity. It has included the preliminary and detailed design of the MAGSCA instrument with the development and test of the laboratory, engineering, qualification and flight model.

The participation with the scalar magnetometer in the JUICE mission is mandatory for the accuracy of the magnetic field measurements and thus for the overall mission success. Furthermore, it will ensure that Austrian scientists and students are strongly involved in the technological achievements (reliability of a new technology and space qualification of a new sensor design) as well as scientific discoveries (e.g. related to the subsurface ocean of the icy moons at Jupiter and the intrinsic field of Ganymede) enabled by this unique mission into the outer solar system.

The project partners will be able to strengthen their visibility and expertise in the field of planetary research.


Project Partners


Austrian Academy of Sciences

Project partner

Graz University of Technology


Contact Address

Austrian Academy of Sciences
Dr. Ignaz Seipel-Platz 2
A-1010 Vienna
Web: www.oeaw.ac.at