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Through Their Eyes: Sending Cassini to Saturn Series

The story of the Cassini mission begins long before the NASA spacecraft first beamed back images of Saturn’s rings or when the European Space Agency’s Huygens probe touched down on Titan, or even its launch in the early morning of October 15, 1997, atop a Titan IV-Centaur rocket.

It’s a tale penned by the more than 5,000 people who have made this 19-year mission a success – those with vested interest, watching intently on Friday as Cassini dives into Saturn’s atmosphere for its end of mission finale.

Part of the prologue to Cassini’s story began with a group of engineers at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, who were responsible for launching Cassini and getting it beyond Earth’s orbit as it began the more than 2.1-billion mile trek to Saturn.

Here, we join the narrative of five members of NASA Glenn’s 65-person launch team, dedicated to making the Cassini mission, like the ones before it, a success.

Follow along this week for the five-part personal account of the launch vehicle development, pre-mission planning, launch and legacy of Cassini

Part 1: The Agency’s Propulsion Powerhouse 

Part 2: T-Minus 10 Years Til’ Liftoff 

Part 3: 3… 2… 1… And Liftoff of Cassini Spacecraft on a Billion Mile Trek to Saturn 

Part 4: The End of an Era 

Part 5: Thank you, Cassini