A View from Above

The Cassini-Huygens spacecraft is impressive… and expensive. Thankfully, the $3 billion (U.S.) Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project that combines the efforts, experience, and resources of NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Italian Space Agency (ISA).

The Cassini-Huygens spacecraft, comprising an orbiter and a probe, launched in 1997 aboard a Titan IV-B launch vehicle, built by Lockheed Martin Space Systems, with a Centaur rocket upper stage.

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) at the California Institute of Technology designed, developed, and assembled the Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras—which turned toward Earth this month to snap some impressive images. (Read more about the photo on the last blog entry.)

The space probe wasn’t the only spacecraft in the outer solar system taking pictures and sending them home this month. While Cassini-Huygens captured images of Earth while facing the Americas, another of NASA’s robotic spacecraft—the Messenger—acquired images all of Europe, the Middle East, and Central Asia.

Messenger, the very first spacecraft to orbit Mercury, is taking photographs in search of natural satellites in the vicinity of the closest planet to the sun; and, it just so happens that Earth is included in pictures captured in the same time period as Cassini-Huygen’s photo shoot of Earth: July 19 and 20, 2013.

The Earth and Moon as seen from Mercury.

Engineers at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md., designed and built Messenger under NASA’s Discovery program.

This military and aerospace (mil/aero) geek has been excitedly delving into the images produced by these impressive spacecraft and their onboard electronics and imaging devices.

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Posted July 30th, 2013, by

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About J. VanDomelen Mil/Aero Blog

J. VanDomelen holds a Bachelor of Science in Information Systems and myriad certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTia in varying facets of computer software, hardware, and network design and implementation. He has worked in the electronics industry for more than 12 years in varied fields, including advanced systems design of highly technical military and aerospace computer systems, semiconductor manufacturing, open source software development, hardware design, and rapid prototyping. J. VanDomelen Mil/Aero Blog

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