MEDIA RELATIONS OFFICE JET PROPULSION LABORATORY CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION PASADENA, CALIF. 91109. TELEPHONE (818) 354-5011 http://www.jpl.nasa.gov
The Galileo spacecraft is preparing for its next encounter with Jupiter's moon Europa, scheduled for this Sunday, May 31 at 2:12 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time, at an altitude of 2,521 kilometers (1,566 miles).
On Thursday, May 28, Galileo completed most of its approach maneuver sequence of commands, but the process was stopped because of an error in the construction of the sequence. The spacecraft aborted the sequence, including the remaining playback of recorded data, and put itself in a "safe mode." That means the spacecraft places itself in a low-activity state until it receives new instructions from the ground. The spacecraft is set to resume its planned activities after a new Europa encounter sequence is radioed to Galileo via the Deep Space Network tonight.
Despite the halt in the spacecraft's planned sequence, Galileo's onboard tape recorder transmitted to Earth 97 percent of the pictures and information that had been scheduled for playback during this orbit. The data were gathered during Galileo's flyby of Europa in late March.
Galileo's navigation team has determined that the encounter activities, which start on Saturday, May 30, will not be affected significantly by the safing event. This will be the first encounter since December of last year to use the full gyroscope capability. The gyro anomaly has been corrected, and at this point, the attitude control system is believed to be fully functional. Continual calibrations will be needed to maintain this capability.
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