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How they steered cassini through saturns rings

  1. Jul 6, 2004 #1
    Was wondering how they steered cassini through saturns rings, on that note how do they know where these probes are at any one time.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 6, 2004 #2
    umm.. UPS? instead of GPS, they probably have some Universal Positioning System? :rofl: hehe, but actually, i think they had already preplaned the direction the spacecraft would take, before it even was launched, and they always put some smart chip or something on there, much like the "Auto-Pilot" on airplanes these days. :wink:
     
  4. Jul 6, 2004 #3

    Phobos

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    Brief answer (I'm sure someone could provide more details)...

    NASA stays in constant contact with the spacecraft, sending instructions and receiving data. So, those signals allow NASA to confirm that the spacecraft is on-course.

    The spacecraft is equipped with thrusters that allow for course corrections.
    http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/spacecraft/index.cfm

    Also note that they steered the spacecraft through one of the gaps in Saturn's rings so that they wouldn't hit the debris.
     
  5. Jul 7, 2004 #4
    Yes i find it amazing how they can steer this craft millions of miles away through the rings of Saturn what with the time delay too. One assumes they are using some kind of local radar and whatever else as well as a lot of computing to detect its course.
    I guess thats why they have all those people with headphones and computers you see at the mission control controlling one probe.
    I often wonder what all those people do.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2004
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