Ground Controllers Prepare for First Scheduled Trajectory Adjustment

November 3, 1997

Cassini ground controllers continue to perform checks on various flight systems and look forward to the spacecraft's first planned trajectory correction maneuver on November 9 at noon PST. While a major milestone of the early phase of Cassini's journey to Saturn, the maneuver requires an adjustment of only approximately 2.7 meters per second (about 6 miles per hour) to fine-tune the spacecraft's flight path due to the extraordinary performance and accuracy of the U.S. Air Force Titan IVB/Centaur launch vehicle that lofted Cassini onto its interplanetary trajectory on October 15. The maneuver and burn will be visible in real-time telemetry from the spacecraft.

"Titan IVB and Centaur upper stage analysis confirmed the excellent performance given to Cassini on launch day," said Cassini Deputy Program Manager Ronald Draper. Spacecraft health remains excellent. Latch release on the cosmic dust analyzer, an instrument that will provide direct observations of small ice and dust particles in the Saturnian system, was completed successfully on October 31.

The spacecraft's velocity relative to the Sun is about 26 kilometers per second (about 60,000 miles per hour). Cassini is now almost 7 million kilometers (more than 4 million miles) from Earth.

Additional information about Cassini-Huygens is online at

Cassini will begin orbiting Saturn on July 1, 2004, and release its piggybacked Huygens probe about six months later for descent through the thick atmosphere of the moon Titan. Cassini-Huygens is a cooperative mission of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C.

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