ESA’s Huygens probe, now orbiting Saturn on board the NASA/ESA/ASI Cassini spacecraft, is in good health and successfully passed its sixteenth ‘In-Flight Checkout’ on 23 November 2004.
This in-flight checkout procedure was the last one planned before separation of the Huygens probe from Cassini in December this year. The preliminary analysis of the real-time data received showed all events in the check-out procedure occurred as, and when, expected.
The procedure was carried out live, with Cassini transmitting the data to Earth in real-time. However the data arrived on Earth with a delay of one hour and 10 minutes as this is the time taken for light, and therefore radio signals, to travel the distance between Saturn and Earth.