Basics of Space Flight
Basics of
Spaceflight Banner

Spacecraft Information


Huygens descent profile

Classification: Atmospheric probe spacecraft.

Mission: Investigate Titan's atmosphere.

Features: The Huygens Probe, contributed by the European Space Agency (ESA), was carried by the Cassini spacecraft to Titan, Saturn's largest moon, and was deployed carrying six science instruments into Titan's atmosphere. It returned a wealth of data to the Cassini Spacecraft which then relayed it to Earth. It was released from Cassini on December 25 UTC, and carried out its 2.5-hour mission, descending through and measuring Titan's atmosphere, on January 14, 2005. It also imaged the surface during descent. Since Huygens actually survive impact with the surface of Titan, it was able to continue to transmit science data from the surface for over 90 minutes. Radio telescopes on Earth also received Huygens' tiny S-band signal directly from Titan, providing data on Titan's winds via induced Doppler shifts.

Stabilization: Spin stabilized.

See also: the Huygens Probe Page at JPL, and at the European Space Agency.