NASA via AP
An artist's rendering shows NASA's Juno spacecraft during an engine burn.
NBC News and news services
updated 9/14/2012 11:22:03 PM ET 2012-09-15T03:22:03

NASA's Jupiter-bound spacecraft, Juno, executed its second deep-space maneuver on Friday after a 10-day technical delay, the space agency said.

The crucial engine burn lasted for a half-hour, from 6:30 to 7 p.m. ET, when Juno was more than 298 million miles (480 million kilometers) away from Earth, according to an online mission update from NASA.

"Preliminary telemetry from the spacecraft indicates that the burn was completed as planned," the agency said. A full report on the maneuver should be available next week after the mission team has assessed the spacecraft's performance.

Friday's engine firing was part of a two-step process intended to direct Juno toward Earth's orbit for a 2013 flyby. Since the rocket that carried Juno was not powerful enough to boost it directly to its destination, it must cruise out to space and swing back to use Earth as a gravitational slingshot to push it toward Jupiter.

The first firing took place as planned on Aug. 30. The second firing was initially scheduled for Sept. 4, but engineers said they needed more time to check out higher-than-expected pressure readings in the propulsion system.

NASA said the delay in the second maneuver would not affect Juno's arrival at Jupiter, scheduled for 2016.

Juno was launched last year. It's on a mission to peer through Jupiter's cloud cover and map its magnetic and gravity fields. The results could help scientists gain a better understanding of the processes that shaped the solar system.

The $1.1 billion mission is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.

This report includes information from NBC News and The Associated Press.

© 2013 msnbc.com

Video: NASA launches Juno spacecraft

  1. Transcript of: NASA launches Juno spacecraft

    LESTER HOLT, anchor: The space shuttle program may be over, but NASA is still sending rockets into the final frontier. The unmanned Juno spacecraft blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force station today on its way to Jupiter . It will be a long trip, 400 million miles, and Juno is expected to settle into Jupiter 's orbit in July 2016 on a mission to study the huge planet structure, magnetic field and atmosphere.

Photos: Jewels from Jupiter

loading photos...
  1. Jupiter loses a stripe

    The weather on Jupiter is changeable, as these before-and-after pictures show. The photograph on the left shows Jupiter as seen in June 2009. The photo on the right, taken on May 9, 2010, reveals that one of the planet's prominent dark cloud belts has faded away. The lightening of the South Equatorial Belt is due to atmospheric changes. Both pictures were taken by Anthony Wesley, an amateur astronomer in Australia. (Anthony Wesley via The Planetary Society) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Family portrait

    Launched in 1989, the Galileo spacecraft has photographed Jupiter as well as several of the giant planet's satellites. Here's a montage that shows Jupiter's Great Red Spot and the four largest moons. From top, they are Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto. (NASA) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Cratered Callisto

    Callisto is considered the most cratered celestial body in the solar system. The false-color overlay at right exaggerates the moon's surface features, including the Valhalla impact structure near the center of the disk. (NASA) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Dark face

    Colors are enhanced in this view of Ganymede's trailing hemisphere, highlighting the moon's polar caps. The violet color indicates where small particles of frost may be scattering light on the blue end of the spectrum. (NASA) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Cloudy weather

    The mosaic at left shows the true colors of the cloud patterns in Jupiter's northern hemisphere. The rendition at right uses false colors to represent the height and thickness of the cloud cover. (NASA) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. This is the Spot

    A true-color picture captures the subtle shadings of Jupiter's Great Red Spot, a massive, long-lived storm system in the planet's thick atmosphere. (NASA) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. A big splash on Europa

    A computer-generated perspective view shows the Pwyll impact crater on Europa, an ice-covered moon of Jupiter. The heights are exaggerated, but the central peak indicates that the crater may have been modified shortly after its formation by the flow of underlying warm ice. (NASA) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. A blast at Io

    This image of Io, thought to be the solar system's most volcanically active world, shows the plumes of two eruptions. One plume can be seen at the very edge of the disk, the other is puffing up from the dark volcanic ring near the center of the disk. (NASA) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Lava light

    An active volcanic eruption on Jupiter's moon Io flares in an image taken in February 2000 by the Galileo spacecraft. The dark L-shaped lava flow to the left of center marks the site of energetic eruptions in November 1999 at Tvashtar Catena, which is a chain of giant volcanic calderas. The two small bright spots at left side of image are sites where molten rock is exposed to the surface at the toes of lava flows. (NASA) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Crazy quilt

    The thin crust of Europa's Conamara region is criss-crossed by craters, cracks and lines - indicating that the surface ice was repeatedly disrupted. The colors, which are enhanced in this view, show where light ice crystals and dark contaminants have settled onto the surface. (NASA) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. A moving moon

    In a picture taken in April 2001 by NASA's Cassini spacecraft, the moon Io looks like a marble set against the background of Jupiter. Io is the giant planet's third-largest satellite. (NASA) Back to slideshow navigation
  1. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  2. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  3. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  4. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  1. Anthony Wesley via The Planetary Society
    Above: Slideshow (11) Jewels of Jupiter
  2. Image:
    Y. Beletsky / ESO
    Slideshow (12) Month in Space: January 2014

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments