Calibration and performance of the Galileo solid-state imaging system in Jupiter orbit

Kenneth P. Klaasen, H. Herbert Breneman, William F. Cunningham, James M. Kaufman, James E. Klemaszewski, Kari P. Magee, Alfred S. McEwen, Helen B. Mortensen, Robert T. Pappalardo, David A. Senske, Robert J. Sullivan, Ashwin R. Vasavada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The solid-state imaging subsystem (SSI) on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA's) Galileo Jupiter orbiter spacecraft has successfully completed its 2-yr primary mission exploring the Jovian system. The SSI has remained in remarkably stable calibration during the 8-yr flight, and the quality of the returned images is exceptional. Absolute spectral radiometric calibration has been determined to 4 to 6% across its eight spectral filters. Software and calibration files are available to enable radiometric, geometric, modulation transfer function (MTF), and scattered light image calibration. The charge-coupled device (CCD) detector endured the harsh radiation environment at Jupiter without significant damage and exhibited transient image noise effects at about the expected levels. A lossy integer cosine transform (ICT) data compressor proved essential to achieving the SSI science objectives given the low data transmission rate available from Jupiter due to a communication antenna failure. The ICT compressor does introduce certain artifacts in the images that must be controlled to acceptable levels by judicious choice of compression control parameter settings. The SSI team's expertise in using the compressor improved throughout the orbital operations phase and, coupled with a strategy using multiple playback passes of the spacecraft tape recorder, resulted in the successful return of 1645 unique images of Jupiter and its satellites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1178-1199
Number of pages22
JournalOptical Engineering
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • General Engineering


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