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OFJ Field Journal from Robert Gounley - 12/5/95

This morning I attending a meeting for people assisting visitors this Thursday.

Unlike Voyager encounters, there won't be pictures from the spacecraft that same day. Unlike Space Shuttle missions, there won't be the fireworks of a rocket launch. What the visitors will see, as soon as it happens, are signals that the Probe has broadcast data from Jupiter's clouds and the Orbiter, holding this precious data, has fired its main rocket engine to become a Jovian satellite. To everyone involved, this means Galileo has arrived and the cheers and clapping to follow will be an event in itself.

At the meeting, we learn that as many as 2000 people will be coming to JPL for Galileo's big day. Some are VIPs (the NASA Administrator, Dan Goldin, is scheduled to come); others are friends and family of Galileo personnel. Combined with the JPL employees who may stay a little later after work, this should make for a pretty big crowd.

No single facility on Lab can handle everyone. Every large meeting area is being pressed into service, including tents. All the activities at JPL are being televised through NASA TV so all NASA centers (and people with backyard satellite dishes) can watch with us. Finally, every TV crew in the Los Angeles area is coming to send their broadcasts around the world.

My responsibilities are to host Galileo family and friends seated in one of the Lab's cafeterias. Tables will cleared to provide room for up to 300 people. There, I am to brief the crowd on what they will see on two large TV monitors and narrate events as they happen. As excited as I expect to be, it will be a challenge to preserve the calm, professional appearance expected of a JPL host. Looking about the room during the meeting, I could see that everyone had the same feeling of anticipation.

This will be a new experience for me. During Galileo's launch and Earth encounters, I'd been called upon to help out with visitors, but was too involved with operations to break free. Now I'm going to be on the outside, watching TV monitors showing others do what I used to do.

I hope they will hear the cheers from my corner of the Laboratory.



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