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Cassini mission altered to salvage Huygens data
Posted: Thu, Jun 21, 2001, 10:22 AM ET (1422 GMT)
Cassini and Huygens at Titan (NASA) The Cassini mission to Saturn will be changed slightly to accommodate communications problems with the Huygens probe that will study the moon Titan, the Associated Press reported late Tuesday. The European-built Huygens probe will be released from Cassini in February 2005, three months later than originally planned, during Cassini's third orbit of the planet. Cassini will also fly much farther from Titan than originally planned: 65,100 km versus 1,200 km. The change, not officially announced yet by the Cassini project, was prompted by problems with the antenna on Huygens discovered during in-flight tests last year. The Huygens antenna does not properly compensate for Doppler shifts in its transmissions, and without changes to the mission designs much of the data transmitted would not be received properly by Cassini. Huygens will study Titan's thick atmosphere during its several hour descent to the surface.
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