Galileo Europa Mission Status
24 Nov 1998
(Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory)
MEDIA RELATIONS OFFICE
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
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The Galileo spacecraft is out of safe mode and has resumed normal operations. At 5 p.m. Pacific Standard Time on Monday, November 23, the spacecraft responded to commands sent from the ground and returned to normal sequenced activities. Galileo had been in safe mode after the portion of the spacecraft's command and data subsystems that control Galileo's non-spinning part reset themselves twice over the weekend of November 21-22. These subsystems control the transmission of Galileo's data to Earth.
The first safing event occurred Saturday evening, November 21, and the other Sunday afternoon, November 22. Because the first safing took place about six hours before Galileo was scheduled to fly by Europa, the spacecraft was unable to gather data on the icy moon, other than distant observations. Galileo engineers believe the resets were probably induced by the intense radiation environment immediately surrounding Jupiter.
Now that the spacecraft is functioning normally again, Galileo will be able to transmit to Earth the information that was gathered by Galileo before the safing events, as well as some radio science measurements of Europa taken while in safe mode.
This latest flyby was Galileo's 10th encounter with Europa; another is planned for January 31, 1999. The spacecraft has spent the past three years orbiting Jupiter and its moons, including Europa, gathering a wealth of information and pictures. Its primary mission ended in December 1997, and the spacecraft is currently in the midst of a two-year extension, known as the Galileo Europa Mission.