Press Release

The Future of the Galileo Mission

By SpaceRef Editor
January 3, 2000
Filed under

NASA Headquarters has agreed in principle to extend the Galileo mission past its planned January 31
finale. Details of funding and itinerary for the new extended mission, to be called the Galileo
Millennium Mission, must still be resolved. A Europa encounter took place January 3, 2000, and is
technically still part of the current, extended Galileo Europa Mission. Another Io flyby is planned for
February 22, with flybys of Ganymede on May 30 and December 28, and joint observations of Jupiter
with the Cassini spacecraft in December 2000.

Galileo engineers like to say that the spacecraft has already lived “well past its warranty”, surviving
radiation exposure more than twice the level it was designed to withstand. Although the radiation has
created some problems with spacecraft instruments, Galileo is still functioning well. There’s no way to
predict how long the spacecraft will remain healthy, but as long as it does, it provides valuable
opportunities for exploration. In addition, it will serve as a flying testbed of how electronic parts really
survive through high radiation exposure over long periods.

SpaceRef staff editor.