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No. 22 - Huygens Lands on Titan!

No. 22 - Huygens Lands on Titan!

Huygens has become the first mission to successfully land on the surface of Titan. The first data has now been received by mission control at ESOC. Updates can be found at

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Follow these links to: Huygens Model and Huygens Probe Descent


  • The 110m Green Bank radio telescope has observed a carrier signal indicating the arrival of the probe
  • Signal observed for over 5 hours suggesting maximum possible data transmission between the Huygens probe and the Cassini spacecraft
  • Playback of probe data has commenced
  • PSA data received from Cassini confirming communication between the two spacecraft
  • Surface landing confirmed

Event Summary




End of first full playback of data


End playback of first partition of data


Surface touchdown plus minimum of 2 hours confirmed
Preliminary telemetry shows the spacecraft started at a spin rate of 9.5 rpm and had fallen to 3.6 rpm by 50 km above the surface
Secondary parachute successfully deployed
All 6 instruments activated

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First data received from Huygens probe


Confirmation received that Huygens probe data was successfully communicated to the Cassini spacecraft


First Huygens probe data expected at around 16:00
Probe life has now been over 5 hours
14:10 Playback of probe data begins
Ground control confirms that a signal is still being received on Earth from the Huygens probe, suggesting its batteries lasted well beyond the minimum design limit of 2 hours 15 minutes
13:47 Cassini Orbiter has been turned in its orbit to poin the high gain antenna towards Earth
12:30 Confirmation given of signal tracking for at least 2 hours
11:24 Estimated time of surface impact and end of the descent phase
11:23 Descent lamp activated to provide ground reflectivity measurements
11:12 Cassini spacecraft undergoes closest approach to Titan passing at an altitude of 60 000 km at a speed of 5.4 km per second


Green Bank 110 m telescope confirms a carrier signal from the Huygens probe.
Signal indicates that the probe has survived the entry phase and that the instrument payload is active.

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Probe approximately 50 km above the surface


Main parachute separation and deployment of drogue chute


Measurements begin at a predicted altitude of around 170 km
09:10 Pilot chute deploys
Main parachute deploys
Probe begins transmission


Probe feels maximum deceleration


Probe reaches interface altitude of 1270 km


Probe turns transmitters on


Cassini orbiter turned to point at Titan
04:44 Huygens onboard timer activates the spacecraft

Last Update: 1 September 2019
22-May-2024 10:40 UT

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