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Galileo Mission to Jupiter
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The Journey to Jupiter Introduction Launch Cruise Arrival Orbital Tour Extended Tour Europa The Spacecraft Mission Operations

Galileo Launch
The Galileo spacecraft beginning its six-year journey.
Cape Canaveral, October 18, 1989: A roar shakes the ground as Space Shuttle Atlantis climbs into the sky. The Galileo spacecraft rides in the payload bay, ready to begin a long journey to the realm of the outer planets. Its mission is to study Jupiter and its moons in more detail than any previous spacecraft.

The spacecraft is named in honor of the first modern astronomer --- Galileo Galilei. He made the first observations of the heavens using a telescope in 1610.

When crew member Shannon Lucid released the Galileo spacecraft from the Shuttle, it began a six-year journey to that giant, colorful planet.

Jupiter Family Portrait
Family Portrait of Jupiter's Great Red Spot and the Galilean Satellites
What compels us to explore Jupiter? Jupiter holds clues to help us understand how the Sun and planets formed over four-and-a-half billion years ago. One of Jupiter's moons has active volcanoes, and others have strange icy terrain. How does this compare with Earth?

Galileo arrived at Jupiter in December 1995. As fascinating data poured in from the orbiting spacecraft and the atmospheric probe, we knew it was just the beginning.

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Last updated 10/01/01.

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