Cassini’s Spectacular Night Launch

Color image of a rocket launch with a ship in the foreground.
  • english

A seven-year journey to the ringed planet Saturn begins with the liftoff of a Titan IVB/Centaur carrying the Cassini orbiter and its attached Huygens probe. This spectacular streak shot was taken from Hangar AF on Cape Canaveral Air Station, with a solid rocket booster retrieval ship in the foreground. Launch occurred at 4:43 a.m. EDT, Oct. 15, from Launch Complex 40 on Cape Canaveral Air Station. Cassini's 2.2-billion mile journey included two swingbys of Venus and one of Earth to gain additional velocity. The two-story tall spacecraft arrived at Saturn in July 2004.