For two years the Galileo spacecraft had been weaving a path through the Jovian system, accomplishing 11 flybys of Jupiter’s moons. The mission was scheduled to end in December 1997, but already in the summer of 1996, even before Galileo had really gotten into gear, discussions had started about prolonging operations. In early 1997, the extended mission won approval. There was, however, a down side. A two-year extension had been possible only on the condition that operating expenses be drastically reduced. NASA had only $30 million total for the Galileo Europa Mission (GEM), scheduled to last from December 7, 1997, to December 31, 1999. The team that had been overseeing the Galileo project thus far was cut by 80 percent, and everything for which it was remotely possible had to be simplified and automated. Now, for example, data could be gathered on moon flybys for only two days, rather than the previous seven, and the routine monitoring of Jupiter’s magnetic environment was stopped almost completely. The reduction in staff to 20 percent of previous levels also meant that the experts needed to deal with unforeseen developments would find work on other projects. Only in case of a real emergency would they be called back as “tiger team” members.
KeywordsSolar Wind Galilean Satellite Reaction Wheel Outer Solar System Narrow Angle Camera
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.