A General Dynamics-built transponder conducted the final data transmissions of the Cassini spacecraft while the orbiter plunged into Saturn’s atmosphere on Friday to end its 13-year mission.
The company said Friday its radio worked to send information from Cassini to Earth at a distance of approximately 900 million miles and within 84 minutes for each radio call.
“We are proud to have been part of the NASA Cassini mission team, helping scientists learn that there are jets of water vapor coming from one of Saturn’s 60 known moons, the mystical rings are actually made of dust, rocks and ice and Saturn experiences seasonal changes during its 30-year orbit around the Sun,” said Manny Mora, vice president and general manager of the space and intelligence systems business of General Dynamics’ mission systems arm.
NASA launched Cassini with the European and Italian space agencies’ Huygens probe in 1997 and both spacecraft reached Saturn’s system in 2004.
Cassini studied Saturn, its rings and moons while Huygens explored the planet’s moon Titan.