From: Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Posted: Monday, January 7, 2002
This is the last week of orbital cruise activities for the Galileo spacecraft before it shifts into high gear for the next and final Io flyby. This week the distance between Galileo and Jupiter shrinks by nearly half, from 90 Jupiter radii (6.4 million kilometers or 4 million miles) on Monday, January 7, to 50 Jupiter radii (3.6 million kilometers or 2.2 million miles) on Sunday, January 13. On Thursday the spacecraft orientation is shifted by 2 degrees to keep the communications antenna pointed towards Earth.
On Saturday the sequence of commands that will govern spacecraft activities during the Io flyby will be transmitted to Galileo from the 70-meter (230-foot) diameter communications antenna near Madrid, Spain.
On Sunday the Extreme Ultraviolet Spectrometer instrument (EUV) is turned off. The instrument has been collecting data on interplanetary hydrogen and helium abundances since October 29. Since EUV shares data processing resources on the spacecraft with the Heavy Ion Counter instrument (HIC), EUV now turns over the reins to HIC, which will participate in the study of charged particles in the Io environment during the flyby.
In the meantime, playback of the data recorded during the last Io flyby in October comes to a conclusion. This final week of playback will be used to help fill in gaps in previous playback data for the Solid State Imaging camera, the Near Infrared Mapping Spectrometer, and the Fields and Particles suite of instruments. Finally, on Sunday the playback process is halted to get ready for the recording activities to come.
For more information on the Galileo spacecraft and its mission to Jupiter, please visit the Galileo home page at one of the following URL's:
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