Galileo Timeline

1975 NASA decides proposed Jupiter Orbiter Mission (JOM) will be first planetary spacecraft launched on Space Shuttle (The mission was later renamed to Galileo).

1977 Congress nearly cancels the Galileo program, but it survives and is approved for launch in 1982 and arrival in

1985. A new IUS (Interim

Upper Stage) is to be built that will propel Galileo directly to Jupiter.

1980 The Space Shuttle program falls far behind schedule and Galileo's launch is slipped to 1984 with arrival delayed until 1986. Since the 1984 trajectory is unfavorable NASA decides on a major engineering change. The spacecraft is split in two, and orbiter section and an atmospheric probe section, and are to be launched separately. The spacecraft and the mission are completely redesigned.

1981 The IUS (now cleverly renamed to Inertial Upper Stage) cannot meet its design specs and cannot propel Galileo directly to Jupiter. NASA opts for more powerful liquid fueled Centaur stage. The probe and orbiter are recombined for a single launch, and the spacecraft and mission are redesigned once again. The launch date is slipped to 1985.

1982 David Stockman cancels the Galileo program. The program is restored by Congress.

1984 Problems with the Space Shuttle and Centaur delay the Launch again to 1986 with arrival in 1988.

1986 Challenger explodes just 4 months before Galileo was to be launched.

Compiled from the JPL Space Calender located at /calender

1987 The VEEGA trajectory is developed and can get Galileo to Jupiter using the IUS. Galileo is scheduled again for launch in 1989. Cruise time to Jupiter with the VEEGA trajectory is six years. Arrival time is late 1995, ten years after the original arrival date.

1989 Galileo is finally launched from the Space Shuttle with the IUS.

1990 JPL discovers that the Galileo antenna failed to unfurl properly. All data will have to be transmitted using a smaller, secondary antenna, at much slower (by at least 10X) rates.

1992 Galileo flyby of the Earth-Moon system, mineralogical mapping of the Moon. Radiation in the Earth's Van Allen belts degrades the CCD chips of the Galileo Imager.

1993 Fly-by of the asterioid Gaspra; first close-up images of an asteroid. Later, fly-by of the asteroid Ida and discovery of an asteroid moonlet which is named Dactyl.

1994 Galileo gets a direct view of the Shoemaker-Levy comet crash. However, its pictures are overshadowed by the stunning images taken by HST.

1995 Galileo releases atmospheric probe, flies through dust clouds. JPL takes pictures of Jupiter, then the tape on which data is stored fails to stop properly. JPL engineers speculate that the tape may have broken, which would impose severe limits on what the spacecraft could do at Jupiter when it arrives in December.