Spacecraft flies between Saturn and rings in historic first

SHARE Spacecraft flies between Saturn and rings in historic first
ap17109687718854.jpg

A still from the short film “Cassini’s Grand Finale,” with the spacecraft diving between Saturn and the planet’s innermost ring. NASA via AP

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has ventured into the never-before-explored region between Saturn and its rings.

But flight controllers won’t know how everything went until Thursday when they are back in touch with the craft.

Cassini was out of radio contact with Earth early Wednesday as it became the first spacecraft to enter the gap between Saturn and its rings. That’s because its big dish antenna was maneuvered face forward to protect science instruments from potentially damaging ring particles.

If Cassini survives this first round, it will make 21 more crossings before its demise in September.

Launched in 1997, Cassini has been orbiting Saturn since 2004. Because the fuel tank is practically empty, NASA decided on one last dangerous, but science-rich adventure.

The Latest
The announcement comes a day after the Rose Bowl agreed to amend its contract for the 2024 and 2025 seasons.
Mahomes said Nagy made sure he would impress coach Andy Reid during a five-hour meeting before the draft.
Cormac Ryan scored 20 of his 23 points in the first half for the Fighting Irish.
“I didn’t ever want to commit fraud on anyone. I was shocked at what happened this month,” Sam Bankman-Fried says.
About 900 people have been arrested in connection with the breach in nearly all 50 states. That includes Illinois, where at least 34 known residents face charges for their role.