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Science & Exploration

N° 27–1997: Cassini/Huygens anomoly detected

16 July 1997

An anomaly involving the ground cooling to the Huygens probe was discovered 29 August 1997. At that time the Probe and the Cassini spacecraft were mounted on the Titan IV rocket on the launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Station, FL.

The anomaly was that internal cooling airflow rate was set higher than the maximum allowable. An internal visual inspection of the Probe was conducted using a fiber- optics borescope instrument. The inspection indicated that a small amount of insulation inside the Probe had been damaged.

Consequently, Programme officials decided to demount the spacecraft from the Titan IV rocket and transport it back to the processing facility. The source for the higher than allowable airflow rate is being determined.

The schedule impact is being assessed and will not be fully determined until the probe has been inspected. It is expected that the Cassini spacecraft will be launched between 6 October and 4 November 1997).

For more information, please contact :
Simon Vermeer
ESA Public Relations Division
Tel: +33.1.(0)53.69.7155 - Fax: +33.1(0)53.69.7690

Douglas Isbell/Don Savage
NASA Headquarters
Tel: +1.202.358.1547

Franklin O'Donnell
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA
Tel: +1 818.354.5011