Four Weeks on Galileo February 25 - March 24, 2002

Status Report From: Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Posted: Wednesday, March 6, 2002

Galileo operations have returned to normal after recovery from an unexpected safing event on the spacecraft last week. A Command and Data System computer reset occurred on Saturday, February 1, which caused the spacecraft to shut down operations and phone home for help. We believe that similar resets, which have occurred since 1998, are due to accumulated radiation effects, so we were somewhat surprised that this one occurred so far out from Jupiter and its intense radiation field. At the time of the reset, the spacecraft was nearly 180 Jupiter radii (12.9 million kilometers or 8 million miles) from the planet. This most recent event may be more similar to anomalies that occurred during Galileo's interplanetary cruise, prior to arrival at Jupiter in 1995. This just goes to show that space exploration is unpredictable at best!

The flight team continues to look for new methods of making the spacecraft more robust and resistant to these resets. During our final flyby of Amalthea coming up in November, Galileo will experience a radiation environment many times more intense than any we have yet seen.

On Thursday, March 7, routine maintenance of the spacecraft propulsion system is performed. On Friday, March 15, routine maintenance of the tape recorder is performed.

Playback of the tape recorded data from the January 17 flyby of Io continues. In addition, data remaining on the tape from the October flyby is still available for playback. Continuous data collection by the Magnetometer, the Dust Detector, and the Extreme Ultraviolet Spectrometer instruments also occupies our attention.

Plans are also being made to perform a final set of calibrations for the Near Infrared Mapping Spectrometer and the Solid State Imaging camera. These calibrations will take place Monday night, March 18. They will provide a final measurement of the sensitivity of the instruments against which we can compare recent science measurements.

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