NASA Europa Clipper spacecraft will be launched by Falcon Heavy launcher.

But very small amount of details can be found, to my surprise.

For example, I've been guessing will additional solid-fuel kick stage be needed? Looks like yes, it will, but only Eric Berger from Arstechnika says this. There are no details on NASA site or in other popular sources.

Also no information about launch window (year-month-dates), nor about flight time and Jupiter insertion date.

The cost of launch is stated to be 178 million $, but is this number including cost of kick stage?

Are these details available for public?

Not one question, several sub-questions here, but I suppose one "mission design" PDF document could answer them all. However, I couldn't find it.

PS: This QA has some info, but I'm not sure is it outdated now? (the links are dead there) Is Mars gravity assist still planned for Europa Clipper?

  • $\begingroup$ did you take a look at the official NASA website for the mission: europa.nasa.gov ? $\endgroup$ Nov 25, 2022 at 12:18
  • $\begingroup$ @mphorah_psprep - I see countdown to nominal launch date there, better than nothing. But I couldn't find any other info addressing my question there. A lot of about Europa, the spacecraft, the instruments, the assembly process - interesting, of course. But nothing aboul the launcher. So why I'm asking :) $\endgroup$
    – Heopps
    Nov 25, 2022 at 12:28

1 Answer 1


According to Wikipedia, a Star 48 kick stage will be used:

NASA intends to launch the Europa Clipper using a Star 48 on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy. The addition of a Star 48 “kick stage” will allow the Clipper mission to reach Europa without needing a gravity assist from Venus.[14]


There was political pressure to launch with SLS. One of the arguments in favor of SLS was a shorter transit. The choice by SpaceX to use the Star 48 was to avoid the need for a Venus gravity assist and thereby shorten the transit time to Jupiter.

  • $\begingroup$ Star 44 or Star 48 ? (inconsistency in the answer) $\endgroup$ Nov 25, 2022 at 17:41
  • $\begingroup$ @astrosnapper ... good catch. Duly edited. $\endgroup$
    – Woody
    Nov 25, 2022 at 18:14
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ It is worth noting that the source cited in the Wikipedia article is the very Arstechnica article already mentioned by the OP. $\endgroup$
    – JFL
    Nov 25, 2022 at 21:31

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