END OF MISSION
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.
JOURNEY TO SATURN
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 international collaboration in space exploration.
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