In this handout image provided by NASA, an Atlas V rocket launches with the Juno spacecraft payload from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on August 5, 2011 in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images
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NASA: Jupiter-bound spacecraft operating normally again

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LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Scientists say NASA's Jupiter-bound spacecraft that looped around Earth to catapult to the outer solar system, is operating normally again.

The Southwest Research Institute, which leads the mission's science operations, said Friday that Juno is out of "safe mode." That's a state a spacecraft is programmed to go into when it senses something is wrong.

Juno hit a snag earlier this week after it flew past Earth to increase its speed to barrel beyond the asteroid belt to Jupiter.

Despite the problem, scientists say Juno is on target to slip into orbit around Jupiter. It's expected to arrive in 2016.

Juno was launched in 2011 and flew beyond the orbit of Earth's closest planetary neighbor, Mars, before looping back toward our home planet for a quick visit.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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