Galileo's long flight to Jupiter


Fig. 2.10 . After launch in October 1989, the Galileo spacecraft used the gravity of the Earth and Venus to accelerate it on to its encounter with Jupiter, six years after launch. In its long, indirect flight path, Galileo was able to fly past two asteroids at close range, 951 Gaspra in October 1991 and 243 Ida in August 1993 (see Figure 2.11). The spacecraft entered into orbit around Jupiter in December 1995, when its descent probe, which had been released five months earlier, dove into the giant planetís atmosphere. The main spacecraft continued to orbit the planet and examine its satellites until 21 September 2003.

Copyright 2010, Professor Kenneth R. Lang, Tufts University