Galileo left Earth orbit on October 18, 1989 on its 7 year odyssey to Jupiter. First, in order to gain sufficient speed, Galileo headed inward, towards Venus. The spacecraft was "kicked" out of Earth orbit by an inertial upper stage (IUS) rocket, sending it careening through the inner solar system. The trajectory which the spacecraft followed was called a VEEGA (Venus-Earth-Earth Gravity Assist), traveling first in toward the Sun for a gravity assist from Venus before encountering the Earth two times (spaced two years apart). These encounters with Venus and the Earth allowed Galileo to gain enough velocity to get it out to Jupiter.
Galileo reached Venus on February 10, 1990 and made several interesting and intriguing discoveries...click on the Venus/Galileo encounter of February 10, 1990 in the chart below to follow Galileo to this planet