Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .




Subscribe free to our newsletters via your




















SATURN DAILY
Cassini completes final Titan flyby
by Staff Writers
Pasadena CA (JPL) Apr 25, 2017


illustration only

NASA's Cassini spacecraft has had its last close brush with Saturn's hazy moon Titan and is now beginning its final set of 22 orbits around the ringed planet.

The spacecraft made its 127th and final close approach to Titan on April 21 at 11:08 p.m. PDT (2:08 a.m. EDT [06:08 UTC] on April 22), passing at an altitude of about 608 miles (979 kilometers) above the moon's surface.

Cassini transmitted its images and other data to Earth following the encounter. Scientists with Cassini's radar investigation will be looking this week at their final set of new radar images of the hydrocarbon seas and lakes that spread across Titan's north polar region.

The planned imaging coverage includes a region previously seen by Cassini's imaging cameras, but not by radar. The radar team also plans to use the new data to probe the depths and compositions of some of Titan's small lakes for the first (and last) time, and look for further evidence of the evolving feature researchers have dubbed the "magic island."

"Cassini's up-close exploration of Titan is now behind us, but the rich volume of data the spacecraft has collected will fuel scientific study for decades to come," said Linda Spilker, the mission's project scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Gateway to the Grand Finale
The flyby also put Cassini on course for its dramatic last act, known as the Grand Finale. As the spacecraft passed over Titan, the moon's gravity bent its path, reshaping the robotic probe's orbit slightly so that instead of passing just outside Saturn's main rings, Cassini will begin a series of 22 dives between the rings and the planet on April 26. The mission will conclude with a science-rich plunge into Saturn's atmosphere on Sept. 15.

"With this flyby we're committed to the Grand Finale," said Earl Maize, Cassini project manager at JPL. "The spacecraft is now on a ballistic path, so that even if we were to forgo future small course adjustments using thrusters, we would still enter Saturn's atmosphere on Sept. 15 no matter what."

Cassini received a large increase in velocity of approximately 1,925 mph (precisely 860.5 meters per second) with respect to Saturn from the close encounter with Titan.

After buzzing Titan, Cassini coasted onward, reaching the farthest point in its orbital path around Saturn at 8:46 p.m. PDT (11:46 p.m. EDT) on April 22. This point, called apoapse, is where each new Cassini lap around Saturn begins.

Technically, Cassini began its Grand Finale orbits at this time, but since the excitement of the finale begins in earnest on April 26 with the first ultra-close dive past Saturn, the mission is celebrating the latter milestone as the formal beginning of the finale.

The spacecraft's first finale dive will take place on April 26 at 2 a.m. PDT (5 a.m. EDT, 09:00 UTC). The spacecraft will be out of contact during the dive and for about a day afterward while it makes science observations from close to the planet.

The earliest time Cassini is scheduled to make radio contact with Earth is 12:05 a.m. PDT (3:05 a.m. EDT, 07:00 UTC) on April 27. Images and other data are expected to begin flowing in shortly after communication is established.

A new narrated, 360-degree animated video gives viewers a sense of what it might be like to fly alongside Cassini as it makes one of its Grand Finale dives:

More information about Cassini's Grand Finale

SATURN DAILY
Cassini Heads Toward Final Close Encounter with Titan
Pasadena CA (JPL) Apr 20, 2017
NASA's Cassini spacecraft will make its final close flyby of Saturn's haze-enshrouded moon Titan this weekend. The flyby marks the mission's final opportunity for up-close observations of the lakes and seas of liquid hydrocarbons that spread across the moon's northern polar region, and the last chance to use its powerful radar to pierce the haze and make detailed images of the surface. Clo ... read more

Related Links
Saturn at NASA
Explore The Ring World of Saturn and her moons
Jupiter and its Moons
The million outer planets of a star called Sol
News Flash at Mercury

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

SATURN DAILY
Lunar, Martian Greenhouses Designed to Mimic Those on Earth

NASA spacesuits over budget, tight on timeline: audit

'Better you than me,' Trump tells record-breaking astronaut

Cygnus docks with ISS, delivering 28 Cubesats from multiple customers

SATURN DAILY
New Russian Medium-Class Carrier Rocket Could Compete With SpaceX's Falcon

RSC Energia, Boeing Hammer Out a Deal on Sea Launch Project

India seeks status as a major space power with more satellite launches

India to Launch Carrier Rocket With Higher Payload Capacity in May

SATURN DAILY
SwRI-led team discovers lull in Mars' giant impact history

Danish Martian Experts Get Their Hands on a Piece of 'Black Beauty'

New Look at 2004's Martian Hole-in-One Site

Researchers Produce Detailed Map of Potential Mars Rover Landing Site

SATURN DAILY
China courts international coalition set up to promote space cooperation

Commentary: Innovation drives China's space exploration

Macao marks 2nd China Space Day with astronaut sharing space experience

China's Long March-5 Y2 carrier rocket leaves for launch site

SATURN DAILY
ESA boosting its Argentine link with deep space

Arianespace, Intelsat and SKY Perfect JSAT sign a new Launch Services Agreement, for Horizons 3e

Airbus and Intelsat team up for more capacity

Commercial Space Operators To Canada: "We're Here, and We can Help"

SATURN DAILY
Man-Made Space Junk Puts Astronauts, Operational Spacecraft in Serious Danger

Engineering technique is damaging materials research reveals

Finding order and structure in the atomic chaos where materials meet

Lockheed Martin secures $1.6 billion contract for counterfire radars

SATURN DAILY
Rocky super-earth found in habitable zone of small red star

Lack of Oxygen Not a Showstopper For Life

Detecting Life in the Driest Place on Earth

In experiments on Earth, testing possible building blocks of alien life

SATURN DAILY
ALMA investigates 'DeeDee,' a distant, dim member of our solar system

Nap Time for New Horizons

Hubble spots auroras on Uranus

Cold' Great Spot discovered on Jupiter




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement