American spacecraft that studied the planet Jupiter and its moons, as well as several other Solar System bodies. Named after the Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei, it consisted of an orbiter and an entry probe. It was delivered into Earth orbit on October 18, 1989 by Space Shuttle Atlantis.
Galileo arrived at Jupiter on December 7, 1995, after gravitational assist flybys of Venus and Earth, and became the first spacecraft to orbit Jupiter. It launched the first probe into Jupiter, directly measuring its atmosphere.
On September 21, 2003, after 14 years in space, Galileo’s mission was terminated by sending it into Jupiter’s atmosphere at a speed of over 48 kilometers per second, eliminating the possibility of contaminating local moons with terrestrial bacteria.
Featured Image: Galileo probe / Image: NASA