Status Report

Cassini-Huygens Mission Status Report – June 17, 2004

By SpaceRef Editor
June 17, 2004
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After completing a successful trajectory correction maneuver on
Wednesday, the Cassini spacecraft is now on its final approach to
Saturn. The spacecraft is operating normally and is in excellent

The maneuver was necessary to adjust the spacecraft’s course to
achieve the desired ring plane crossing conditions on June 30.
Cassini will pass through a known gap between two of Saturn’s rings,
called the F and G rings. The region of passage through the ring
plane was searched for hazards with the best Earth- and space-based
telescopes and by Cassini itself. To protect the spacecraft from
particles too small to be detected from Earth, Cassini will be turned
to use its high-gain antenna as a shield.

“This should be our final approach maneuver. It’s on to Saturn and
orbit insertion,” said Earl Maize, deputy program manager for the
Cassini-Huygens mission at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena,

During Wednesday’s maneuver, Cassini’s main engine burned for 38
seconds to slow the spacecraft by about 3.6 meters per second (about 8
miles per hour). In the next few days, mission managers will evaluate
the tracking data to ensure the spacecraft is on the correct path for
the Saturn encounter. All indications show everything is on target.
Subsequent maneuvers are possible should tracking data indicate they
are needed to correct the course of the spacecraft.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the
European Space Agency, and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet
Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of
Technology in Pasadena, manages the Cassini-Huygens mission for NASA’s
office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. JPL designed, developed and
assembled the Cassini orbiter.

For the latest images and more information about the Cassini-Huygens
mission, visit

SpaceRef staff editor.