Max-Planck-Gesellschaft Startseite
MPS Eingangsseite  

Über das Institut

Aktuelles und




Research School IMPRS


Galileo mission description
/ de / projekte / galileo /

Galileo - Mission to Jupiter

Mission description


Galileo was launched on October 18, 1989 onboard the space shuttle Atlantis. After a 6-year journey through interplanetary space it reached Jupiter on December 7, 1995. Galileo's primary mission ended in December 1997 and was extented until December 1999 under the name Galileo Europa Mission (GEM). Since then to the end in September 2003 the mission was called Galileo Millenium Mission.


The spacecraft was not directly sent to Jupiter. Three gravity assist maneuvers, one at Venus and two at Earth were used to boost Galileo towards the giant planet.

Galileo planetary flybys

Venus flyby 2/10/1990 @ 16000 km distance
Earth-1 flyby 10/8/1991 @ 960 km distance
Earth-2 flyby 12/8/1992 @ 305 km distance

Galileo asteroid flybys
In addition to the planetary flybys Galileo also encountered two asteriods (Gaspra and Ida) inside the main asteroid belt during cruise.
Gaspra flyby 29/10/1991 @ 1600 km distance
Ida flyby 28/8/1993 @ 2400 km distance

Probe mission

In July 1995 the Galileo probe was detached from the orbiter and began its own journey towards Jupiter. It plunged into the atmosphere of Jupiter on Dec 7, 1995, exactly at the same time when the orbiter passed above the entry site.
The MPS is involved in one of the instruments: the lightning detector > LRD

Arrival at Jupiter

On Dec 7, 1995 Galileo was inserted into the Jovian system. A list of a the orbits, the trajectories may be found at >

Mission timeline

The mission was originally planned for 2 years (1995-1997). After the performance of the Galileo Orbiter has far exceeded any prior expectations the projects was extended for another 2 years under the name Galileo Europa Mission GEM (1997-1999), dedicated to additional flybys at the moon Europa. Since then until 2003 the mission was called Galileo Millenium Mission. The mission officially was ended in September 2003.

> Galileo amazing facts

top  Top Krupp, 02-10-2009 drucken   Druckbares Layout
© 2009, Max-Planck-Institut für Sonnensystemforschung, Lindau Impressum