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The Galileo Spacecraft was designed to explore the Jovian System and gain more close looks at the largest planet of our solar system It was launched on October 18 1989 onboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis after being delayed due to the Columbia tragedy And because of the delay its flight path was altered now Galileo would have to use gravity assist to go around Venus once and the Earth twice to gain enough velocity to reach Jupiter This 15 Billion-Dollar Spacecraft was powered by Radioisotope Thermal Generators RTGs of 570W On April 11 1991 after Galileo had travelled far enough from the heat of the Sun the spacecraft executed stored computer commands designed to unfurl the large high-gain antenna But telemetry received minutes later at JPL showed that something went wrong The motors had stalled and the antenna had only partially opened To get past this obstacle however new software was sent to the spacecraft causing it to compress its data and send it through the low-gain antenna On its way to Jupiter Galileo passed by two asteroids first of which was Gaspra on October 1991 and on August 1993 also discovered first satellite of an asteroid called Ida and its satellite Dactyl Due to Galileos position scientists were able to observe fragments of the Shoemaker-Levy comet as they plummeted into the Jovian Atmosphere for six days in July 1994 The spacecraft also contained a probe that was to be used to gather data on the Jovian Atmosphere radiative heat balance and much more The probe was released on July 13 1995 147 day prior to its entry into the Jovian Atmosphere on December 7 1995 On that day Galileo became the first artificial satellite to go around the planet Its primary mission of 23 months was later extended into the Europa Mission The Europa Mission lasted for about two years and because of the great success of the project was
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