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|Galileo is a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) spacecraft mission to Jupiter, launched October 18, 1989 from the space shuttle Atlantis. It was designed to do
long - term studies of the planet's atmosphere, satellites (moons), and surrounding magnetosphere for 2 years starting in December 1995. It is the first mission to encounter an asteroid (Gaspara) and is the discoverer of another asteriod's moon (Asteroid Ida with its moon Dactyl). It was named for the Italian Renaissance scientist, Galileo Galilei, who discovered Jupiter's major satellites in 1610 with the first Astronomical telescope.
The Galileo spacecraft was constructed in three segments: the Atmosphereic Probe which was deployed directly into Jupiter's atmosphere, a nonspinning section of the orbiter carrying cameras and other remote sensors, and the spinning main section of the orbiter which includes instruments designed to sense and measure the environment directly as the spacecraft flies through it.