Galileo Relay Satellite Project - Abstract

Galileo Relay Satellite Project

Submitted to

Dr. Wallace T. Fowler
Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics
University of Texas at Austin
December 6, 1991


Laura E. Bass
Erika Carlson
John D. Cinnamon
Hank S. Kleespies
Solar S. Smith


In April, 1991, the Galileo Spacecraft failed to deploy the high gain antenna as planned. The command from mission control was attempted, but the structure of the antenna remained in a lock or semi-locked state. Since then, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory has determined that the high gain antenna is in a partially unfurled configuration. This failure prevents Galileo from properly transmitting information in a form that can be understood by current ground station facilities. The likely impact on Galileo's mission to Jupiter is an inability to transmit data at any reasonable data rate.

The purpose of this design project is to examine the possibility of sending a communications relay satellite into space in an attempt to intercept data transmitted over Galileo's functioning low gain antennas. The data from Galileo would be boosted in power and transmitted from the relay satellite at the design data rate of Galileo's high gain antenna.

The Galileo Relay Satellite (GRS) Project summarizes a detailed examination of various options to accomplish the goals of recovering Galileo's mission data at Jupiter. In the final analysis, the GRS can accomplish the communications mission within the program constraints, however, the economic feasibility is questionable. While the GRS goals can be technically achieved, the decision to deploy a GRS vehicle will rest upon space program priorities and available budget.