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Solar System Exploration
Saturn Orbit Insertion
Saturn Orbit Insertion

Saturn Orbit Insertion

This graphic shows the trajectory of the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft from the perspective of Earth as it enters orbit around Saturn. All times in listed are Pacific Daylight Time.

Highlights of orbit insertion:
  • 6:10 PM.: Spacecraft turns so its high-gain antenna can shield the craft from particles as it crosses Saturn's ring plane.
  • 7:36 PM: Engine begins burn, which will slow spacecraft down so it can be captured by Saturn's gravity. Burn lasts approximately 96 minutes.
  • 8:54 PM: Cassini captured in Saturn orbit.
  • 9:03 PM: Closest approach to Saturn of entire mission: 19,980 kilometers (12,400 miles) from Saturn's cloud tops.
  • 9:12 -9:22 PM: Engine burn ends.
  • 9:35 PM: Spacecraft begins to take pictures of Saturn's rings.

Image Credit: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Credit: Jet Propulsion Laboratory

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Last Updated: 20 Jan 2011