Two days before the last descent of Cassini directly into Saturn, a briefing of current state of the orbit was updated for the press. On September 15, Cassini will end its 13 year Saturn mission (20 total years of planetary exploration) in a dramatic fireball.
“The spacecraft’s final signal will be like an echo”, Earl Maize, Cassini project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. “(Cassini’s) mission isn’t truly over for us on Earth as long as we’re still receiving its signal”.
“Cassini will be vaporized…in about 2 minutes”.
Expected start of the final signals will end (Earth Time) September 15, 4:55:06 AM PST. Descent into Saturn will start near 1:37 AM PST.
LAST TWO ORBITS: