Cassini Mission Status
4 Feb 1999
(Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory)
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The Saturn-bound Cassini spacecraft successfully completed its sixth scheduled trajectory adjustment today, firing its main rocket engine for two minutes to fine-tune the spacecraft's flight path as it travels toward its next flyby with the planet Venus.
The engine firing began at 12 noon Pacific time and ended as scheduled two minutes later, the Cassini operations team reported. The spacecraft was tracked throughout the maneuver by NASA's Deep Space Network telecommunications complex at Robledo de Chavela near Madrid, Spain. The maneuver achieved an 11.5- meter-per-second (25.7-mile-per-hour) adjustment in Cassini's speed, bringing the spacecraft's speed relative to the Sun to 20.02 kilometers per second (44,784 miles per hour) to finely target its second flyby of Venus on June 24. The gravity-assist flyby is one of four throughout the mission that impart additional velocity to Cassini to deliver the spacecraft to Saturn, more than one billion kilometers (half a billion miles) away.
Last month Cassini completed a full checkout of all its scientific instruments, with each instrument successfully brought online and tested. Most of the instruments onboard are in a dormant mode until Cassini reaches Saturn in 2004, but are tested periodically throughout the mission. The spacecraft will also take advantage of several opportunities during the long cruise to Saturn to make scientific observations of solar system objects and the interplanetary medium.