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This is what an artist thinks Cassini might look like when it uses its rocket engine to slow down and go into orbit around Saturn.
Click on image for full size
Image courtesy NASA/JPL.

Cassini arrives at Saturn
News story originally written on June 30, 2004

A spacecraft named Cassini will get to Saturn on June 30, 2004. Cassini's rocket engine will burn for 96 minutes to slow the robot spaceship down. If it works, Cassini will be captured into orbit around Saturn. Cassini was launched in 1997, so it has taken nearly seven years to complete its long journey to Saturn.

Cassini will orbit Saturn for at least four years. It will use its 12 instruments to study Saturn, its rings, and its moons. Cassini is also carrying a smaller probe named Huygens. Huygens will land on Titan, Saturn's largest moon, in January 2005.

Cassini will get its closest views of its entire mission of Saturn and of Saturn's rings during this first swing by the planet. In fact, Cassini will pass through the rings twice while braking into orbit. Cassini will turn its main antenna dish forward when it passes through the ring, to act as a shield against high-speed collisions with ring particles.

Last modified June 30, 2004 by Randy Russell.

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