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.