The Cassini space probe ended its nearly 20-year mis­sion Fri­day when it ran out of fuel and crashed into Saturn's at­mos­phere. The space­craft has trav­eled more than 4.9 bil­lion miles and was the first craft to or­bit Saturn.

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - LIVING - By KURT SNIBBE | South­ern Cal­i­for­nia News Group


1. When the Cassini space probe was launched on Oct. 15, 1997 El­ton John's song “Can­dle in the Wind” was No. 1. and flip phones were just be­com­ing pop­u­lar. The cost of pre-launch de­vel­op­ment was $2.5 bil­lion. The to­tal mis­sion cost over 20 years has been $3.9 bil­lion. 2. The first of two fly­bys of the planet Venus was April 26, 1998. The pur­pose of a plan­e­tary flyby is de­signed to in­crease the space­craft's ve­loc­ity. 3. The sec­ond flyby of Venus was a lit­tle less than a year later on June 24, 1999. 4. The space probe got a grav­ity as­sist from Earth on Aug. 18, 1999 then headed to Jupiter. 5. The probe reached Jupiter by Dec. 2000, then pushed through space to Saturn. 6. On July 1, 2004, the probe reached Saturn – 6.7 years af­ter its launch. The space­craft was de­signed to with­stand tem­per­a­tures rang­ing from 266 de­grees near Venus to mi­nus 346 de­grees around Saturn. On Dec. 24, 2004, Cassini re­leased the Huy­gens land­ing probe to Saturn's largest moon, Ti­tan.

The be­gin­nings of the Cassini–Huy­gens space probe go back to 1982, when the Euro­pean Science Foun­da­tion and the Amer­i­can Na­tional Acad­emy of Sciences formed a work­ing group to in­ves­ti­gate fu­ture co­op­er­a­tive mis­sions. It is con­sid­ered a flag­ship for...

The last im­age taken from Cassini was at 12:58 p.m., Sept. 14.

STUDY­ING SATURN Six named moons dis­cov­ered 453,048 im­ages taken 27 na­tions par­tic­i­pated Or­bits of Saturn: 294 Ti­tan fly­bys: 127 Ence­ladus fly­bys: 23 Icy satel­lite fly­bys: 15 3 2 Venus Not to scale Earth Jupiter 1 5 4

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