THE GALILEO PROBE will plunge into the turbulent atmosphere of the planet Jupiter on 7 December as its mother ship enters orbit. It will be the first man-made contact with Jupiter, and the first time the planet has been orbited by a spacecraft (Flight International, 28 June-4 July).

The 340kg, Hughes-built probe will hurtle into the Jovian clouds at about 6ON latitude at a speed of 92,000kt (170,000km/h), and is expected to return data to the mother ship for about 75min until it reaches a depth of 640km (400 miles) and experiences an atmospheric pressure 20 times that of the Earth's.

The delayed launch of the European Space Agency's Solar Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) aboard an Atlas 2AS from Cape Canaveral has been rescheduled for 7 December (Flight International, 5-11 July).

NASA has selected the Stardust as its fourth Discovery interplanetary mission. The craft, to be built by Lockheed Martin, and launched in 1999, will fly by the comet Wild 2 in 2004, collect samples emitted from its coma, which surrounds the core, and return them to Earth in 2006.

Source: Flight International