Cassini Revealing Saturn’s Secrets

A new mission in outer space will soon offer a fresh perspective on the origin of the solar system and perhaps offer clues to the origin of life. Lockheed Martin, in cooperation with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, has provided the Cassini spacecraft with the power and propulsion systems for its Saturnian mission beginning in July 2004. After a seven year journey to Saturn, Cassini will spend four years studying the rich diversity of the Saturnian system, including the planet's rings and satellites; the surface and atmosphere of its principal moon, Titan; and the nature of fields and particles in Saturn's magnetosphere. Cassini will orbit Saturn, fly repeatedly near several of Saturn's moons, and send an instrumented probe (Huygens) into the atmosphere of Saturn's moon, Titan. The Cassini propulsion module is the largest planetary spacecraft propulsion system ever built, containing both bipropellant and monopropellant propulsion systems, with more than 3,100 kg of liquid propellants. Lockheed Martin also supplied the three radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTG) that provide power to the Cassini spacecraft.

Cassini hardware is tested during construction in the thermal vacuum chamber at Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, Colorado.

Huygens Probe & DISR
– In January 2005, the Cassini spacecraft will launch the Huygens Probe into Titan's atmosphere to execute a series of experiments. – Titan is the largest satellite in the solar system and the only one with an atmosphere. Titan's atmosphere is rich in organic compounds— those which are believed to be indicative signatures of the origin of life. – Lockheed Martin built the Descent Imager Spectral Radiometer (DISR), one of six instruments onboard the Huygens Probe.

The Cassini spacecraft lifted off on an Air Force Titan IV/Centaur on October 15, 1997, on a mission to Saturn, where it will orbit and study Saturn, its rings and moons 4 years.

Artist’s impression of Huygens descending through Titan’s atmosphere.

Contact: Stephen Price Civil Space Business Development Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company 303.977.5143 | Exploration Hotline | 800.779.0831
© 2004 Lockheed Martin Corporation

Cassini spacecraft view, June 29, 2004 courtesy NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute Cassini/Saturn image courtesy NASA/JPL/Caltech/David Seal Artist’s impression of Huygens coutresy ESA 08.04

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