Galileo’s last visit home

Galileo at EarthCatching the last gravity assist on its four-year “VEEGA” tour of the inner solar system, NASA/JPL’s Galileo spacecraft swings past Earth one last time, conducting further tests of its imaging system and other instruments by examining Earth and its moon. Galileo now sets its sights on the outer solar system, where it will take up an orbit around giant planet Jupiter in 1995, studing the planet and its atmosphere, its moons, and its unfriendly-to-spacecraft radiation environment. Efforts to release the vehicle’s stuck high-gain antenna continue, though NASA admits that, within a few months, they will have to begin planning for a mission that can only make use of the low-bit-rate medium-gain antenna.