No. 8 - Saturn Orbit Insertion
At 04:12 UT 1 July 2004 (21:12 Pacific Daylight Time, 30 June 2004) flight controllers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (Pasadena, USA) received confirmation that Cassini had completed the engine burn needed to place the spacecraft into the correct orbit.
The orbit insertion procedure, which had been 7 years in the waiting, was executed flawlessly with the desired engine burn and spacecraft orientations taking place on schedule.
Once the spacecraft had completed the second crossing of the ring plane the imaging system was reactivated and the primary mission, to undertake detailed scientific investigations of the Saturnian system, could finally begin.
The first raw images from this event are due to be made available at around 12:00 UT 1 July 2004. Science measurements gathered 30 June (prior to the insertion manoeuvre) are the closest ever obtained of Saturn. Scientists are hoping that they will reveal new details about Saturn's gravitational and magnetic fields and interior.
The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency.