Thinking about starting a club one of these days so just want to see how it works and all.
Cassini Saturn Mission
I remember the day in 1997, i was at my corporate job when I heard the probe was launching. I knew if the mission was a success it would be amazing. Thankfully 20 years later it's still going but will be put down next month and i feel like i'm saying bye to an old friend.
Here are some facts:
Weight: 12,593 pounds (5,712 kg) with fuel, Huygens probe, adapter, etc; 4,685 pounds (2,125 kg) unfueled orbiter alone
Orbiter science instruments: composite infrared spectrometer, imaging system, ultraviolet imaging spectrograph, visual and infrared mapping spectrometer, imaging radar, radio science, plasma spectrometer, cosmic dust analyzer, ion and neutral mass spectrometer, magnetometer, magnetospheric imaging instrument, radio and plasma wave science
Power: 885 watts (603 watts at end of mission) from radioisotope thermoelectric generators
Dimensions: 8.9 feet (2.7 meters) in diameter
Weight: 705 pounds (320 kg)
Probe science instruments: aerosol collector pyrolyser, descent imager and spectral radiometer, Doppler wind experiment, gas chromatograph and mass spectrometer, atmospheric structure instrument, surface science package
Huygens Probe Titan Release: Dec. 24, 2004
Huygens Probe Titan Descent: Jan. 14, 2005
Huygens' Entry Speed into Titan's Atmosphere: about 12,400 mph (20,000 kph)
Launch vehicle: Titan IVB/ Centaur
Weight: 2.2 million pounds (1 million kg)
Launch: Oct. 15, 1997, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
Earth-Saturn distance at arrival: 934 million miles (1.5 billion km) (10 times Earth to Sun distance)
Distance traveled to reach Saturn: 2.2 billion miles (3.5 billion km)
Saturn's average distance from Earth: 890 million miles (1.43 billion km)
One-way Speed-of-Light Time from Saturn to Earth at Cassini Arrival: 84 minutes
One-way Speed-of-Light Time from Saturn to Earth During Orbital Tour: 67 to 85 minutes
Venus Fybys: April 26, 1998 at 176 miles (234 km); June 24, 1999 at 370 miles (600 km)
Earth Flyby: Aug. 18, 1999 at 727 miles (1,171 km)
Jupiter flyby: Dec. 30, 2000 at 6 million miles (10 million km) (closest approach 5:12 a.m. EST)
Saturn Arrival Date: July 1, 2004, UTC (June 30, 2004 PDT)
Primary Mission: 4 years
Two Extended Missions: Equinox (2008-2010) and Solstice (2010-2017)
Partners: NASA, European Space Agency (ESA), Italian space agency Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI); total of 17 countries involved
U.S. states in which Cassini work was carried out: 33
Number of people who worked on some portion of Cassini-Huygens: More than 5,000
Cost of mission: $1.422 billion pre-launch development; $710 million mission operations; $54 million tracking; $422 million launch vehicle; $500 million ESA; $160 million ASI; total about $3.27 billion, of which U.S. contribution is $2.6 billion and European partners' contribution $660 million
The final chapter in a remarkable mission of exploration and discovery, Cassini's Grand Finale is in many ways like a brand new mission. Twenty-two times, NASA's Cassini spacecraft will dive through the unexplored space between Saturn and its rings. What we learn from these ultra-close passes over the planet could be some of the most exciting revelations ever returned by the long-lived spacecraft. The video abovetells the story of Cassini's final, daring assignment and looks back at what the mission has accomplished.
“With this flyby we’re committed to the Grand Finale,” Earl Maize, Cassini project manager at JPL, said in a press release. “The spacecraft is now on a ballistic path, so that even if we were to forgo future small course adjustments using thrusters, we would still enter Saturn’s atmosphere on Sept. 15 no matter what.”
Cassini will be out of contact during the dive, but will make radio contact with Earth the next day, when scientists expect the images and data to start coming in.