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  • Frits Westra
    Cassini successfully arrives at Saturn BY WILLIAM HARWOOD STORY WRITTEN FOR CBS NEWS SPACE PLACE & USED WITH PERMISSION Posted: July 1, 2004; Updated at 2:10
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 1, 2004
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      Cassini successfully arrives at Saturn
      BY WILLIAM HARWOOD
      STORY WRITTEN FOR CBS NEWS "SPACE PLACE" & USED WITH PERMISSION
      Posted: July 1, 2004; Updated at 2:10 a.m. EDT

      http://spaceflightnow.com/cassini/040630soi.html

      NASA's $3.3 billion Cassini probe completed a seven-year, 2.2-billion mile
      voyage tonight, firing its main engine for a nerve-wracking 96 minutes to
      successfully brake into orbit around the ringed planet Saturn.

      Throughout the all-or-nothing rocket firing, flight controllers at NASA's
      Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., could only sit and wait,
      monitoring events that had already taken place 934 million miles away.

      At that distance, radio signals, moving at 186,000 miles per second,
      needed an hour and 24 minutes to complete a one-way trip between Saturn
      and Earth. As a result, Cassini's on-board computer was responsible for
      carrying out the most critical maneuver since launch Oct. 15, 1997, a
      maneuver that simply had to work or the mission would end in failure.

      To everyone's relief, Cassini's main engine fired up on time at 10:36 p.m.
      EDT and shut down at 12:12 a.m., putting the craft in its planned initial
      orbit around Saturn.

      "Flight, telecom," the Cassini communications officer called out. "The
      Doppler has flattened out."

      Translation: Cassini's engine had shut down and Cassini was in orbit.
      Flight controllers burst into cheers, sharing hugs and high fives as
      Cassini lived up to its reputation for near flawless operation.

      --[snipped -- FULL story at above URL]-----

      © 2004 Pole Star Publications Ltd
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