JOUR­NEY TO SATURN

The Mercury (Pottstown, PA) - - LIVING -

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.

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