Galileo spacecraft, 1983.
© National Aeronautics & Space Administration / Science & Society
Development test model of Galileo at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, California. The Galileo spacecraft, to explore the planet Jupiter, was launched on 18th October 1989 after lengthy delays caused partly by the Shuttle Challenger disaster in 1986. Despite problems caused by the failure of the main communication antenna to unfold, Galileo reached the vicinity of Jupiter in December 1996 and released an atmospheric probe which descended by parachute into the Jovian atmosphere relaying data for 57 minutes. The main spacecraft entered orbit around Jupiter, studying the planet and its moons.