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Galileo Energetic Particles Detector


Mission Overview


The Energetic Particles Detector was one of the 19 experiments on board the Galileo spacecraft, which was launched by space shuttle Atlantis and an Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) rocket in October 1989. After a journey of more than 6 years and 2.3 billion miles, Galileo reached its ultimate destination, orbit around Jupiter. Galileo's scientific experiments were carried out by more than 100 scientists from 6 nations. The Energetic Particles Detector, or EPD, was one of 10 scientific instruments remaining aboard the orbiter after the probe separated and entered the Jovian atmosphere in December 1995. The orbiter then began a two-year tour of the Jovian system, including 11 elliptical orbits around Jupiter, gathering and sending data back to scientists on Earth.


The EPD instrument detected and counted high energy electrons, protons, alpha particles, and heavy ions. Data from this project promises to revolutionize our understanding of the Jovian system and reveal important clues to the formation and evolution of the solar system.


At Fundamental Technologies, Dr. Thomas P. Armstrong was a Galileo EPD co-investigator.



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Updated 8/23/19, Cameron Crane


Manufacturer: The Galileo Spacecraft was manufactured by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm, General Electric, and the Hughes Aircraft Company.

Mission Duration: Galileo was planned to have a mission duration of around 8 years, but was kept in operation for 13 years, 11 months, and 3 days, until it was destroyed in a controlled impact with Jupiter on September 21, 2003.

Destination: Galileo's destination was Jupiter and its moons, which it orbitted for 7 years, 9 months, and 13 days.