PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICE
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
PASADENA, CALIF. 91109. TELEPHONE (818) 354-5011
Contact: Mary Beth Murrill
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEOctober 15, 1996
CASSINI SPACECRAFT READIED FOR "SHAKE AND BAKE" TESTS
NASA's Cassini spacecraft, scheduled for launch to Saturn
less than a year from now, is being prepared at the Jet
Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, CA, for a series of so-
called "shake and bake" tests that imitate the vibration forces
and extreme temperatures the spacecraft will have to withstand
during its upcoming launch and flight through space.
"We're ready to put Cassini through the toughest tests it
will face before launch," said Cassini Program Manager Richard J.
Spehalski of JPL. "These tests will prove Cassini has the right
stuff to get to Saturn and do its job."
In coming days, the 10.5-meter (35-foot) tall Cassini
spacecraft structure will be transported to JPL test facilities
where it will face enormous speakers that blast the spacecraft
with acoustic vibrations like those it will encounter during
launch. Following that, engineers will test the spacecraft's
response to random vibrations the spacecraft will experience in
flight. Finally, the spacecraft will be fitted with custom-made
thermal blankets and subjected to the extreme hot and cold
temperatures it will reside in once it is launched into space
from Cape Canaveral, FL, on October 6, 1997.
Cassini will reach Saturn in July 2004. After entering orbit
around the ringed planet and make detailed observations of Saturn
and its largest moon Titan, some smaller icy moons, and study the
magnetic environment surrounding the planet for four years. The
mission is an international effort of NASA, the European Space
Agency (ESA) and the Italian Space Agency (ASI).
Engineers and technicians at JPL last Friday, October 11,
completed the painstaking assembly of the spacecraft's major
components with the installation of a model of the 2.7-meter
(8.8-foot) diameter Huygens probe, provided by ESA. The giant
disk-shaped probe, covered with shiny amber-colored thermal
blanketing, was fitted onto the side of the Cassini spacecraft.
Huygens will be carried to Saturn, then released by Cassini to
drop via parachute into the thick atmosphere of Titan. Huygens
will take scientific measurements and observations of Titan's
atmosphere, which is thought to be chemically similar to that of
Earth's before life began.
The Cassini mission is managed by the Jet Propulsion
Laboratory for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C.
NOTE TO EDITORS: New video and still photos of Cassini are
available to support
this news release. Contact JPL Public Information at 818/354-
5011 for more information.