Galileo Europa Mission Status
12 Feb 1999
(Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory)
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JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
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NASA's Galileo spacecraft is out of safing mode and has resumed normal flight operations, including playback of pictures and other science data gathered during the January 31 Europa flyby. Four hours after that flyby, Galileo entered safing mode- -a built-in protection mode designed to turn off all non- essential spacecraft activities- while the spacecraft was performing a sun acquisition turn. The turn was halted when onboard fault protection software determined that the turn was lasting longer than it should have.
Normal operations of the spacecraft were restored Wednesday, February 10, and the playback of science data resumed Thursday morning, February 11. All observations made by Galileo's instruments during the close approach to Europa on January 31 were successfully stored and are being transmitted to Earth. After Galileo entered safing mode, scientists were unable to make planned distant observations of Europa, Io and Jupiter.
Galileo has gathered a wealth of information about Europa during the past three years. The spacecraft is currently halfway through a two-year extended Galileo Europa Mission, a follow-on to the primary mission that studied Jupiter, its moons and its magnetic environment.
The Galileo project team is continuing its analysis of the events leading up to the safing. Analysis to date shows this event is unrelated to previous anomalies.