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Cassini/Huygens - Unlocking the secrets of Saturn

  • Launched in 1997
  • May offer clues about how life began on the Earth
  • Huygens: First probe to land in the outer Solar System
  • Airbus Defence and Space designed the internal structure & integration of Huygens

In 1997, the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA dispatched a spacecraft tandem to the Saturnian system. NASA’s orbiter Cassini continues to study Saturn’s atmosphere as well as the moons Enceladus and Titan. ESA’s Huygens landed on the surface of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, in 2005, as the first probe to land on a world in the outer Solar System. The mission has revealed new information on what our world may have looked like four million years ago.

Airbus Defence and Space was responsible for the internal structure and integration of the Huygens probe and provided the internal thermal control subsystem. The company also designed and manufactured the front and aft thermal protection system for Huygens’ heat shields, and carried out the aerodynamic specification and trajectory calculations of the probe's parachute braking system.