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Cassini
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Cassini
Cassini Mission to Venus Cassini Mission to Earth's Moon Cassini Mission to Jupiter Cassini Mission to Asteroids Cassini Mission to Saturn

Goals: Cassini used Earth's gravity to speed its journey to Saturn. During the Earth-moon system flybys, scientists used the opportunity to calibrate Cassini's cameras and instruments on the Moon, a familiar science target.

Accomplishments: Lunar data from Cassini's instruments captured in 1999 were used in 2009 to confirm Chandrayaan-1's discovery of water molecules on the Moon. Data from comet-chasing Deep Impact-EPOXI lunar observations also helped confirm the important discovery.

   

Key Dates
15 Oct 1997:  Launch
30 Dec 2000:  Jupiter Flyby
1 Jul 2004:  Saturn Orbit Insertion
24 Dec 2004:  Huygens Probe Release
14 Jan 2005:  Huygens Probe Landing
Status: Extended Mission in Progress
Fast Facts
Cassini Facts The spacecraft is named in honor of Giovanni Cassini (right), the 17th century astronomer who discovered gaps in Saturn's rings.

Cassini is a truly international mission. Three space agencies and 17 nations contributed to the mission.

The orbiter is about the same size as a 30 passenger school bus. It weighs roughly 5,650 kg (6 tons). Half of that is rocket fuel.

The orbiter is named for Italian astronomer Giovanni Domenico Cassini (right).

Cassini is the first spacecraft to orbit Saturn.

Pioneer 11 was the first spacecraft to fly by Saturn in 1979.

The spacecraft is named for Giovanni Cassini (1625 - 1712), the European astronomer who discovered four moons of Saturn and a large gap in the planet's rings.

Cassini was the first spacecraft to orbit Saturn. Pioneer 11 and Voyagers 1 and 2 were flyby missions.

Saturn and its ring system serve as a miniature model for the disc of gas and dust surrounding the early Sun that formed the planets.
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Julie Castillo-Rogez Julie Castillo-Rogez
"Both the Voyager missions have been very special missions, as their observations have in part driven the past 20 years of space exploration." Read More...
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Last Updated: 15 Aug 2013