Cassini-Huygens nears insertion into Saturn’s orbit

Artist's impression of Cassini-Huygens closing in on Saturn
23 June 2004

ESA PR 33-2004. The ESA/NASA Cassini-Huygens mission, launched in October 1997, is currently heading for Titan, Saturn’s largest moon.

The ESA Huygens probe will be the first ever to land on the surface of a moon in the outer Solar System, and the NASA Cassini orbiter will continue to explore Saturn and its rings.

On 1 July CEST (30 June Pacific Daylight Time), after a journey of almost seven years and four gravity-assist swing-by manoeuvres, the spacecraft will be inserted into its orbit around Saturn and will reach its closest approach to the planet. The Huygens probe will be detached from the mother ship on 25 December and is due to land on Titan in January next year.

The Saturn Orbit Insertion event can be followed at ESA’s European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) at Darmstadt, Germany, on 1 July, from 05:00 to 09:00. Several project representatives will be present. The event can also be followed at ESA HQ in Paris and at ESA/ESRIN, Frascati, in Italy. At each site, ESA specialists will be available for interviews.

Those wishing to attend are asked to complete the attached reply form and fax it to the communications office at the establishment of their choice.

The ESA TV service will provide extensive live coverage of all international press conferences, the orbital insertion operations on the night of 30 June to 1 July, and the presentation of the first images and results at JPL. All transmission and satellite details are published online and will be continuously updated at http://television.esa.int.

The ESA live TV line transmission of the orbital insertion will also be transmitted on Astra 2C, the satellite reception details being as follows:

Astra 2C at 19 degrees East
Transponder 57, horizontal, MPEG-2, MCPC
Frequency 10832 MHz, Symbol rate 22000 MS/sec. FEC=5/6.

Note to editors:

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperation between NASA, ESA and ASI (Italian space agency). The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, is managing the mission for NASA’s Office of Space Science, Washington DC.

For further information, please contact:

ESA Media Relations Division
Tel: +33(0)1.53.69.7155
Fax: +33(0)1.53.69.7690

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