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Cassini

— Space

Cassini prepares for dramatic climax to its mission

NASA's Cassini spacecraft recently completed the second of five planned burns designed to maneuver the spacecraft out of Saturn's ring plane, and into a polar orbit. The move is being made in preparation for the final phase of Cassini's mission, which will see the spacecraft perform a series of daring orbits, maximizing the probe's scientific output prior to the mission's termination.

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— Space

Cassini prepares for a final pass of icy Enceladus

NASA's Cassini spacecraft is preparing for its final flyby of the icy moon Enceladus. The pass is slated to take place on Dec. 19 at a distance of 3,106 miles (4,999 km). This final close proximity encounter of Enceladus comes as part of a farewell tour of Saturn's moons that have been so well characterized by the spacecraft, prior to beginning its "Grand Finale" mission late in 2016.

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— Space

Cassini begins final flybys of Saturn's moon Enceladus

Launched in 1997, NASA's Cassini orbiter mission to Saturn has lasted 18 years and 3 months so far – a considerable extension of its original four-year timetable. As its mission draws to an end, the unmanned, nuclear-powered spacecraft will execute the first of its final three flybys of Saturn's moon Enceladus. To take place between now and December, the close encounters are expected to provide a better understanding of the moon's global ocean and its possible habitability.

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