Space

March 23, 2012

NASA’s Cassini mission receives Smithsonian’s highest honor

The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum has bestowed its highest group honor, the Trophy for Current Achievement, on NASA’s Cassini mission to Saturn.

The annual award recognizes outstanding achievements in the fields of aerospace science and technology.

The trophy was presented March 21 during an evening ceremony at the museum in Washington. Established in 1985, the award has been presented to seven NASA planetary mission teams.

“This joint mission has produced an unprecedented science return,” said William Knopf, Cassini program executive at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “Missions like Cassini pave the way for future robotic and human exploration throughout our solar system and beyond.”

Launched in 1997, the Cassini spacecraft entered Saturn’s orbit in June 2004 with the European Space Agency’s Huygens probe bolted to its side. In December 2004, the spacecraft successfully released Huygens, which entered the atmosphere of Saturn’s largest moon Titan. Cassini completed its prime mission in 2008 and has been extended twice. It is now in its so-called solstice mission, which will enable scientists to observe seasonal changes in Saturn and its moons during the planet’s northern summer solstice. The mission will last through September 2017.

“We look forward to sailing around the Saturn system for several more years to see how our views of the planet and its magnificent moons change as we get into northern summer solstice,” said Robert Mitchell, the Cassini program manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., who accepted the award on behalf of the team.

The Cassini spacecraft carries 12 science instruments and investigations, with an additional six aboard Huygens. Cassini mission highlights to date include the discovery of four new moons and two new rings around Saturn. Cassini observed spraying water vapor and icy particle jets from the moon Enceladus. In Saturn’s northern hemisphere, the spacecraft watched the evolution of a monster storm, a sign of seasonal change from northern winter into northern spring.

Cassini and Huygens also revealed new characteristics about Titan, the only body in the solar system other than Earth with stable liquid on its surface.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, ESA and the Italian Space Agency. JPL manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL.

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines July 25, 2014

News: VA reform bills stalled by partisan bickering - Plans for a comprehensive Veterans Affairs Department reform bill that appeared all but finished a month ago devolved into partisan bickering and funding fights July 24, casting doubt on the future of a deal.   Business: Airbus, Boeing, Lockheed announce bids on Danish fighter competition; Saab withdraws -...
 
 

News Briefs July 25, 2014

Marines investigate corporal who vanished in Iraq U.S. Marine Corp officers are launching a formal investigation into whether a Lebanese-American Marine deserted his unit in Iraq or later after returning to the United States. A spokesman for the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Lejeune said July 24 that Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun is being...
 
 
Air Force photograph by A1C Erin OíShea

U.S. Forces display military might at Farnborough

Air Force photograph by A1C Erin O’Shea Capt. Tom Meyers discusses the F-15E Strike Eagle’s capabilities with spectators July 17, 2014, at the Farnborough International Airshow in England. Public access was granted ...
 

 
raptors4

Raptors, Falcons fuel up in desert skies

Three U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors assigned to the 325th Fighter Wing, Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., fly alongside a KC-135 Stratotanker assigned to the 93rd Air Refueling Squadron, Fairchild AFB, Wash., during Red Flag 14-3, Ju...
 
 
lm-kmax

Lockheed Martin’s unmanned cargo helicopter team returns from deployment

After lifting more than 4.5 million pounds of cargo and conducting thousands of delivery missions for the U.S. Marine Corps, the Lockheed Martin and Kaman Aerospace Corporation K-MAX cargo unmanned aircraft system has returned ...
 
 
Air Force photograph by A1C Thomas Spangler

Sun sets on Red Flag 14-3

Air Force photograph by A1C Thomas Spangler The sun sets behind a row of F-16 Fighting Falcons during Red Flag 14-3, July 16, 2014, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Red Flag provides a series of intense air-to-air combat scenario...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>