The NASA/ESA/ASI Cassini-Huygens spacecraft is due to arrive at Saturn on 1 July 2004.
This will mark the end of the spacecraft’s journey through the Solar System as well as the beginning of its tour of Saturn, its rings, moons and magnetosphere. The spacecraft will approach Saturn from below the ring plane, and will cross through the large gap between the F Ring and G Ring. The spacecraft’s main engine will fire (or ‘burn’) shortly after passing through the rings to slow Cassini-Huygens enough to be captured by Saturn’s gravity. This is called Saturn Orbit Insertion (SOI).
The main engine will be turned to face the direction of travel, and the resulting thrust from the engine will act as a braking device, which will slow down the spacecraft as it enters Saturn’s orbit.
Guido De Marchi | alfa
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