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Radio Science: Celestial Mechanics (RS)

NSSDC ID: 1989-084B-11
Mission Name: Galileo Orbiter
Principal Investigator: Dr. John D. Anderson


The purposes of this investigation were to: (1) investigate the high-altitude neutral atmosphere of Jupiter using occultation techniques to measure pressure, temperature, molecular weight, and turbulence; (2) investigate the ionosphere of Jupiter and its interaction with the magnetosphere, using occultation techniques to determine electron number density and plasma scale height; (3) determine the sizes and shapes of the Galilean satellites; (4) search for and characterize atmospheres and ionospheres of the Galilean satellites and study their interactions with the Jovian magnetosphere; (5) determine the structure of the gravitational field of Jupiter from Doppler tracking; (6) determine the masses and gravitational moments of the Galilean satellites and improve knowledge of their orbits; (7) study turbulence, electron density fluctuations, and winds in the Jovian ionosphere; (8) investigate microwave emission from the atmosphere and trapped radiation belts of Jupiter; and, (9) search for VLF gravitational waves incident on the solar system to a level of strain amplitude approximately 1.E-15.

Investigators used the signals transmitted between the Earth and the orbiter and between the probe and the orbiter to carry out their investigations. The Earth-orbiter communications used an S-band (2115 MHz) uplink and transponder to generate a coherent S-X band downlink (2297 MHz and 8422 MHz), using an Earth-oriented 5 m dish antenna. The frequency stability was approximately one part in 1.E+11. The probe-to-orbiter transmission was at a frequency between 1 and 2 GHz, and used a wide-band receiver and body-fixed 1 m dish antenna.

Following the probe mission, this receiver and antenna were to be available to carry out additional investigations.

Alternate Names

  • RS

Funding Agency

  • NASA-Office of Space Science Applications (United States)


  • Astronomy: Gravity Waves
  • Planetary Science: Atmospheres
  • Planetary Science: Celestial Mechanics
  • Planetary Science: Small Bodies

Additional Information

Questions or comments about this experiment can be directed to: Dr. Edwin V. Bell, II.



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Dr. Frank B. EstabrookTeam MemberNASA Jet Propulsion
Dr. John W. ArmstrongTeam MemberNASA Jet Propulsion
Mr. James K. CampbellTeam MemberNASA Jet Propulsion
Dr. Timothy P. KrisherTeam MemberNASA Jet Propulsion
Dr. John D. AndersonGeneral ContactNASA Jet Propulsion

Selected References

Anderson, J. D., et al., Gravitation and celestial mechanics investigations with Galileo, Space Sci. Rev., 60, No. 1/4, 591-610, May 1992.

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