NASA’s Cassini spacecraft will execute the largest planned maneuver of the spacecraft’s remaining mission on August 9. The maneuver will target Cassini toward an August 21 encounter with Saturn’s largest moon, Titan.
The main engine firing will last about a minute and will provide a change in velocity of 12.5 meters per second.
Shown above is an artist’s conception of Cassini firing its main engine.
Although Cassini has performed similar large propulsive maneuvers during its decade in the Saturn system, Titan itself has proven to be the workhorse for steering Cassini around Saturn. It is not uncommon for the spacecraft to receive a gravitational boost from Titan that exceeds the 96-minute engine burn Cassini performed in 2004 to insert itself into Saturn orbit.
The Cassini team recently celebrated a decade studying Saturn, its rings, moons and magnetosphere.
The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency.