Cassini about 7am EST, entered its last orbit and straight into Saturn’s atmosphere. It disintegrated and vaporized in a fire ball, as NASA’s JPL expected.
Cassini has gathered invaluable data and science in its decades of travel. It stayed and studied Saturn and its satellites for its last 13 years.
Here are the last two sequences:
Sept. 15, 2017
(3:31 a.m. PDT)
Cassini is scheduled to begin its entry into Saturn’s atmosphere soon, with a confirming signal received on Earth at 4:55 a.m. PDT (7:55 a.m. EDT). Engineers anticipate loss of contact about one minute later.
(1:55 a.m. PDT)
Cassini engineers have received the signal that Cassini has started a five-minute roll to point the instrument that will sample Saturn’s atmosphere (INMS) into the optimal direction, facing the direction of the oncoming gases. Along with this roll, the spacecraft is reconfiguring its systems for real-time data transmission at a rate of 27 kilobits per second (3.4 kilobytes per second). Final, real-time relay of data starts immediately after. That relay marks the beginning of Cassini’s final plunge.
Good bye Cassini. Thanks for all the work.