Douglas Isbell Headquarters, Washington, DC (Phone: 202/358-1753


July 13, 1995

Franklin O'Donnell Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA (Phone: 818/354-5011) Diane Farrar Ames Research Center, Mountain View, CA (Phone: 415/604-3934) RELEASE: 95-111 GALILEO'S JUPITER ATMOSPHERIC PROBE SUCCESSFULLY RELEASED Packed like an interplanetary paratrooper, the atmospheric probe aboard NASA's Galileo mission successfully sprang loose from the main spacecraft early this morning and began its long, five-month free-fall toward Jupiter. "We're delighted to have successfully released the probe on its Jupiter atmospheric mission after having carried it for almost six years," said Galileo Project Manager William O'Neil at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, CA. Data from Galileo received shortly after 2:07 a.m. EDT confirmed that the probe release went as planned. "The probe is configured for its encounter with Jupiter and is on its way," said Marcie Smith, manager of the probe mission at NASA's Ames Research Center, Mountain View, CA. "We're very excited to have the probe mission underway." The probe's flight across the remaining 51 million miles to Jupiter will end abruptly on Dec. 7, 1995 when it slams into the giant gas planet's atmosphere. After hitting the top of Jupiter's atmosphere at the highest impact speed (106,000 mph) ever achieved by a human-made object, the rugged probe will unfurl its main parachute and float downward.ÊSeven onboard instruments will directly measure for the first time Jupiter's chemical make-up, winds, clouds and lightning. The probe will radio its data to the Galileo spacecraft for up to 75 minutes.

-more-2The probe mission is likely to end when the main Galileo spacecraft passes beyond radio contact with the probe as the spacecraft enters Jupiter orbit. The ultimate fate of the probe may be determined by its battery lifetime, or it may first succumb to the immense pressure of Jupiter's atmosphere and be crushed. Galileo, meanwhile, will begin two years of close-up studies of Jupiter, its moons, rings and powerful magnetic environment. On July 27, Galileo will fire its main engine to deflect its own course toward an orbit high above Jupiter's cloud tops. Ê The overall Galileo mission is managed for NASA's Office of SpaceÊScience, Washington, DC, and by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA. Galileo's atmospheric probe is managed by the Ames Research Center, Mountain View, CA. - end NOTE TO EDITORS: Images depicting the Galileo probe and its atmospheric entry at Jupiter are available to news media representatives by calling the Headquarters photo library at 202/358-1900. Photo numbers are: Color: Black & White: 87-HC-264 87-H-310 95-HC-365 95-H-375 95-HC-366 95-H-376 NASA press releases and other information are available automatically by sending an Internet electronic mail message to In the body of the message (not the subject line) users should type the words "subscribe pressrelease" (no quotes). The system will reply with a confirmation via E-mail of each subscription. A second automatic message will include additional information on the service. Questions should be directed to 202/358-4043.