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Cassini Tour of Saturn and its Moons

Cassini Tour of Saturn and its Moons

Upon arrival and orbit insertion, Cassini began its tour of the Saturnian system in July 2004. The four-year nominal mission lasted up to July 2008 with 74 unique orbits around Saturn. In this period, Cassini performed 45 Titan flybys and had close encounters with six of Saturn's other known moons. Cassini's path around Saturn was shaped by gravity-assist flybys of Titan.

In the four-year nominal mission, or the Prime Mission, Cassini made nine close targeted flybys of Enceladus (4x), Phoebe, Hyperion, Dione, Rhea and Iapetus. These moons were chosen as data from previous missions suggests they could hold the keys to understanding the Saturnian system and possibly the origins of the Solar System. Many distant flybys were made of other major moons. The varying inclination angle of Cassini's orbits allows studies of Saturn's polar regions in addition to the planet's equatorial zone.

Titan is the subject of close investigations by Cassini. During the Prime Mission, Cassini executed 45 targeted close flybys of Titan, coming to within 950 kilometres of the surface. These flybys allowed high-resolution mapping of Titan's surface with the Titan imaging radar instrument. The radar can penetrate the opaque haze covering the moon and provides vivid topographic maps of the surface. In turn these maps can be used in conjunction with the data returned from the Huygens probe to help build up a three-dimensional picture of Titan's surface and atmosphere.

Cassini's journey around Saturn for the Prime Mission was divided into 6 segments:

  Start date End date Orbits Info
1. Saturn Orbit Insertion and Probe Release
1 July 2004 15 February 2005 A - 3  Details
2. Occultation Sequence
15 February 2005 7 September 2005 3 - 14 Details
3. Petal Rotation and Magnetotail Petal
7 September 2005 22 July 2006 14 - 26 Details
4. Titan 180 Transfer
22 July 2006 30 June 2007 26 - 47 Details
5. Rotation / Icy Satellites
30 June 2007 31 August 2007 47 - 49 Details
6. High Inclination Sequence
31 August 2007 1 July 2008 49 - 74 Details


Saturn Moon Encounters

Orbit Moon Encounter Date* Altitude (km) Info
2004
0 Phoebe 11 June 1997
A Titan 26 October 1200  Details 
B Titan 13 December 1200  Details 
B Probe Release 25 December n/a
2005
C Iapetus 1 January 65 000
C Titan 14 January 60 000  Details 
3 Titan 15 February 1577  Details 
3 Enceladus 17 February 1176
4 Enceladus 9 March 500
5 Titan 31 March 2402  Details 
6 Titan 16 April 1025  Details 
11 Enceladus 14 July 175
12 Mimas 2 August 48 842
13 Titan 22 August 3758  Details 
14 Titan 7 September 1025  Details 
15 Tethys 24 September 39 773  Details 
15 Hyperion 26 September 1010  Details 
16 Dione 11 October 500  Details 
17 Titan 28 October 1451  Details 
18 Rhea 26 November 500  Details 
19 Titan 26 December 10 409  Details 
2006
20 Titan 15 January 2043  Details 
21 Helene 25 February 68 000
21 Titan 27 February 1813  Details 
22 Titan 19 March 1951  Details 
22 Rhea 21 March 82 000
23 Titan 30 April 1855  Details 
24 Titan 20 May 1879  Details 
24 Polydeuces 22 May 64 000
25 Titan 2 July 1906  Details 
26 Titan 22 July 950  Details 
26 Tethys 23 July 120 000
26 Telesto 24 July 45 000
27 Helene 17 August 49 000
28 Titan 7 September 1000  Details 
28 Atlas 9 September 116 000
28 Methone 9 September 12 000
28 Calypso 9 September 109 000
28 Enceladus 9 September 40 000
29 Titan 23 September 960  Details 
29 Methone 25 September 65 000
30 Titan 9 October 980  Details 
31 Titan 25 October 1030  Details 
31 Telesto 28 October 123 000
32 Enceladus 9 November 95 000
32 Calypso 9 November 112 000
33 Dione 21 November 72 000
34 Telesto 3 December 97 000
35 Titan 12 December 1000  Details 
36 Titan 28 December 1300  Details 
2007
37 Titan 13 January 1000  Details 
38 Titan 29 January 2631  Details 
39 Titan 22 February 1000  Details 
40 Titan 10 March 980  Details 
41 Titan 26 March 1010  Details 
42 Titan 10 April 990  Details 
43 Dione 24 April 114 000
43 Telesto 24 April 107 000
43 Titan 26 April 980  Details 
44 Titan 12 May 960  Details 
45 Tethys 26 May 97 000
45 Epimetheus 26 May 60 000
45 Titan 28 May 960  Details 
46 Mimas 11 June 112 000
46 Atlas 12 June 34 000
46 Prometheus 12 June 70 000
46 Epimetheus 12 June 80 000
46 Methone 12 June 61 000
46 Titan 13 June 975  Details 
47 Tethys 27 June 16 000
47 Methone 27 June 19 000
47 Mimas 27 June 98 000
47 Enceladus 28 June 89 000
47 Prometheus 28 June 39 000
47 Epimetheus 28 June 90 000
47 Rhea 28 June 105 000
47 Titan 29 June 1932  Details 
48 Titan 19 July 1332  Details 
48 Helene 20 July 36 000
48 Tethys 20 July 100 000
49 Tethys 29 August 53 000
49 Rhea 30 August 5116
49 Titan 31 August 3326  Details 
49 Iapetus 10 September 1644
50 Dione 30 September 47 000
50 Tethys 30 September 119 000
50 Enceladus 30 September 98 000
50 Telesto 30 September 77 000
50 Titan 2 October 975  Details 
51 Hyperion 21 October 121 000
51 Helene 23 October 25 000
51 Pallene 24 October 124 000
51 Prometheus 24 October 105 000
52 Rhea 16 November 91 000
52 Enceladus 17 November 113 000
52 Pandora 17 November 93 000
52 Pan 17 November 96 000
52 Epimetheus 17 November 99 000
52 Calypso 17 November 88 000
52 Titan 19 November 1000  Details 
53 Mimas 3 December 84 000
53 Telesto 3 December 123 000
53 Epimetheus 3 December 9000
53 Titan 5 December 1300  Details 
54 Titan 20 December 970  Details 
2008
55 Dione 3 January 123 000
55 Pallene 3 January 103 000
55 Janus 3 January 116 000
55 Prometheus 3 January 112 000
55 Pandora 4 January 124 000
55 Titan 5 January 1010  Details 
56 Methone 15 January 15 000
57 Atlas 27 January 70 000
57 Epimetheus 27 January 105 000
57 Prometheus 27 January 95 000
57 Pandora 27 January 115 000
58 Epimetheus 8 February 114 000
58 Pandora 8 February 116 000
58 Atlas 8 February 117 000
59 Pan 20 February 84 000
59 Prometheus 20 February 66 000
59 Pandora 20 February 64 000
59 Janus 20 February 101 000
59 Titan 22 February 950
60 Prometheus 2 March 98 000
61 Enceladus 12 March 52  Details 
62 Pallene 23 March 33 000
62 Epimetheus 23 March 84 000
62 Methone 23 March 102 000
62 Titan 25 March 1000  Details 
63 Pallene 1 April 105 000
63 Janus 1 April 117 000
64 Mimas 11 April 106 000
65 Mimas 20 April 116 000
65 Telesto 20 April 78 000
65 Epimetheus 20 April 119 000
66 Telesto 30 April 36 000
66 Pallene 30 April 92 000
67 Methone 10 May 96 000
67 Janus 10 May 122 000
67 Titan 12 May 1000  Details 
68 Calypso 17 May 112 000
68 Methone 17 May 79 000
68 Epimetheus 18 May 99 000
69 Pallene 25 May 28 000
69 Atlas 25 May 61 000
69 Janus 25 May 64 000
69 Titan 28 May 1400  Details 
70 Pallene 1 June 108 000
70 Janus 1 June 23 000
71 Pan 9 June 94 000
71 Pandora 9 June 85 000
72 Epimetheus 16 June 54 000
72 Prometheus 16 June 60 000
73 Atlas 23 June 121 000
73 Methone 23 June 90 000
73 Pan 23 June 90 000
74 Pan 30 June 94 000
74 Prometheus 30 June 29 000
74 Enceladus 30 June 101 000
74 Methone 30 June 118 000
74 Janus 30 June 69 000
74 Atlas 30 June 113 000

* The encounter date refers to the date of closest approach in UTC
Last Update: 1 September 2019
17-May-2021 15:30 UT

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