Cassini Orbit Insertion
Date: 1 Jul 2004
This is an artists concept of Cassini during the Saturn Orbit Insertion (SOI) maneuver, just after the main engine has begun firing. The spacecraft is moving out of the plane of the page and to the right (firing to reduce its spacecraft velocity with respect to Saturn) and has just crossed the ring plane.
The SOI maneuver allowed Cassini to be captured by Saturn's gravity. The orbiter's close proximity to the planet after the maneuver provided unique opportunity to observe Saturn and its rings at extremely high resolution.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL