The launch, from the ESA space base in Kourou, French Guiana, where Portugal will be represented by the president of the space agency Portugal Space, Ricardo Conde, will take place at 13:15 (Lisbon time) aboard a European rocket Ariane 5.

The mission, which was due to be launched in 2022, has Bruno Sousa as director of flight operations and the satellite includes components manufactured by LusoSpace, Active Space Technologies, Deimos Engenharia and FHP - Frezite High Performance and an instrument designed in part by LIP - Laboratory of Instrumentation and Experimental Particle Physics.

JUICE (JUpiter ICy moons Explorer, Explorer of the Icy Moons of Jupiter) will study the largest planet in the Solar System and the moons Europa, Ganymede and Callisto, where scientists believe that liquid water may exist (a fundamental element for life as we know it) under the surface ice crusts.

The satellite should reach the gaseous giant after eight years, in July 2031, make 35 close flights to the icy moons and reach Ganymede in December 2034.

It will be the first time that an artificial satellite will orbit a moon of another planet.

It is expected that the ESA mission, which cost around 1.6 billion euros and had the collaboration of the North American (NASA), Japanese (JAXA) and Israeli (ISA) space agencies in terms of instrumentation and 'hardware' ', will end in September 2035.

The first scientific data are expected in 2032.