Cassini Spacecraft - Cassini–Huygens Saturn

Cassini Spacecraft Dives Between Saturn and its RingsCassini–Huygens is an unmanned spacecraft sent to the planet Saturn. It is a Flagship-class NASA–ESA–ASI robotic spacecraft. Cassini is the fourth space probe to visit Saturn and the first to enter orbit, and its mission is ongoing as of April 2017. It has studied the planet and its many natural satellites since arriving there in 2004. Cassini is currently planned to be destroyed by diving into the planet's atmosphere on September 15, 2017, when it will beam its last batch of images. This method of disposal was chosen to avoid potential biological contamination of Saturn's moons.

Cassini Spacecraft Dives Between Saturn and its RingsDevelopment started in the 1980s. Its design includes a Saturn orbiter (Cassini) and a lander (Huygens) for the moon Titan. The two spacecraft are named after astronomers Giovanni Cassini and Christiaan Huygens. The spacecraft launched on October 15, 1997 aboard a Titan IVB/Centaur and entered orbit around Saturn on July 1, 2004, after an interplanetary voyage that included flybys of Earth, Venus, and Jupiter. On December 25, 2004, Huygens separated from the orbiter, and it landed on Saturn's moon Titan on January 14, 2005. It successfully returned data to Earth, using the orbiter as a relay. This was the first landing ever accomplished in the outer Solar System.

Cassini Spacecraft Dives Between Saturn and its RingsCassini continued to study the Saturn system in the following years, and continues to operate as of April 2017. However, since November 30, 2016, due to the spacecraft's dwindling fuel resources for further orbital corrections, Cassini entered the final phase of the project. Cassini will dive through the outer ring of Saturn 20 times, once every seven days. The spacecraft will enter areas that have been untouched up until this point, getting the closest look ever at Saturn's outer rings. The first pass of the rings took place on December 4, 2016.

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