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To Saturn We'll Go...
News story originally written on October 13, 1997
Cassini was supposed to be launched from Cape Canaveral on October 13, 1997. Several problems have delayed the launch.
The first problem was the weather. High winds exceeded launch safety requirements. There were also two other problems on the day of the launch -- a glitch in a computer onboard Cassini and a problem with a piece of the rocket's ground support equipment. NASA has fixed the computer problem and the Air Force is hard at work to get ground support ready. So if the weather cooperates, Cassini will be launched on Wednesday, October 15th.
The Cassini probe will travel 7 years to reach Saturn. When it arrives it will study Saturn's moons and rings. The spacecraft carries 12 scientific experiments that will help scientists to understand Saturn's atmosphere and its magnetic field.
The Cassini spacecraft will also carry an atmospheric probe that will parachute into Titan's atmosphere. Titan is Saturn's largest moon. Its thick atmosphere is nitrogen-based like the Earth's. Scientists are hoping to make connections between the Earth and Titan.
The Cassini mission is a joint project of NASA, the European Space Agency, and the Italian Space Agency. The main mission will end in July 2008.
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