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 RELEASE
April 21, 1997
NASA's Cassini spacecraft, due for launch toward the planet
Saturn in early October, arrived today at NASA's Kennedy Space
Center (KSC) in Florida.
The spacecraft was shipped from NASA's Jet Propulsion
Laboratory in Pasadena, CA, by a U.S. Air Force C-17 air cargo
plane. The spacecraft will now undergo final integration and
testing prior to being taken to Launch Complex 40 for mating to
an Air Force Titan IV launch vehicle.
Saturn is best known for its complex ring system and a
complex atmosphere with very high winds. The Cassini spacecraft
will deploy an instrumented probe called Huygens to explore
Saturn's moon Titan, itself the size of a small planet. Huygens
will ride a parachute through Titan's dense atmosphere, which may
have important similarities to the early atmosphere of Earth.
Studies of Saturn's atmosphere along with its rings, moons and
magnetic environment will help produce a better understanding of
At KSC, after post-arrival inspections of the spacecraft
have been completed, integration of the 12 science instruments
not already installed will be finished. Next, the large
parabolic high- gain and then the propulsion module will be mated
to the spacecraft. At that point, an integrated functional test
will be run to verify that all of these systems are operating
properly together. Finally, the Huygens Probe, which up to now
has been undergoing its component integration and associated
testing separately, will be mated with the Cassini spacecraft,
fully completing spacecraft integration.
Cassini was built and is managed for NASA by JPL. The
European Space Agency (ESA) is contributing the Huygens Probe.
The high-gain antenna and elements of several of Cassini's
science instruments are being provided by the Italian Space
Cassini is scheduled for launch on Oct. 6, 1997, at 5:38
a.m. Eastern Standard Time to begin its nearly seven-year journey
to the outer solar system. Once it reaches Saturn, the spacecraft
is expected to complete 60 orbits of the planet and its moons
during a four-year primary mission.