This Week on Galileo
August 10 - 19, 2001
Galileo Settles Down After The Io Flyby Last Week
With the hectic activity of the Io encounter now behind it, Galileo settles
into the more peaceful pace of orbital cruise. But first, the last bit of
cleanup from the flyby must be taken care of. On Friday, August 10, the
spacecraft executes an orbit trim maneuver. This engine burn will correct
any remaining uncertainties or errors in the flyby path, and begin to nudge
the spacecraft towards its next target. That target once again is Io, which
we will pass in mid-October.
On Saturday the spacecraft again uses its thrusters, this time to turn in
place and point the antenna closer to the Earth. This 4 degree turn takes
about 10 minutes to perform. On Sunday, routine maintenance of the
propulsion system is performed. This will guarantee that all parts of the
propulsion system are properly exercised, not just those branches that are
used for the particular maneuvers and turns we have done recently.
In addition to these navigation and engineering tasks, playback of the
science data from last weekend's flyby continues. A quick survey of the
data on the tape takes up the first week or so of playback. Due to the
effects of the accumulated radiation the spacecraft has received in its
nearly six years in orbit around Jupiter, measurements from several
instruments have been affected. The survey will determine if any of the
data on the tape are bad, and allow the scientists to plan how best to
retrieve the good data on subsequent passes over the tape.