Scalar magnetometer for JUICE: System level testing, near Earth commissioning and operation in early cruise phase

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 at the beginning of 2030.

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 with low absolute error. The required accuracy of the J-MAG instrument can only be achieved when the fluxgate vector sensors are calibrated with the MAGSCA as baseline instrument.

Contents and goals

This project aims for 

  1. the spacecraft level verification tests with the flight model after August 2021 and
  2. the preparation of the operation in space, near Earth commissioning and performance verification in the early cruise phase. These tasks are essential for the mission success.

This project is a direct successor of the developments which were elaborated under PRODEX and ASAP funded activities.

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 evaluation 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 - Institute for Space Research

Project partner

University of Technology Graz, Institute for Experimental Physics


Contact Address

Austrian Academy of Sciences
Institute for Space Research
Dipl.-Ing. Dr. Werner Magnes
Schmiedlstraße 6
A-8042 Graz