Live broadcast of Saturn probe

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 29 June, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 29 June, 2004, 12:00am

National Geographic Channel viewers will be able to witness spacecraft Cassini-Huygens starting its four-year orbit around Saturn, the sixth planet from the Sun, on Thursday at 9.30am.

According to Nasa, Cassini-Huygens will fire its main engine to reduce its speed, allowing the spacecraft to be captured by Saturn's gravity and enter orbit. It will then begin its four-year-tour around the ringed planet, its mysterious moons, the magnificent rings and its complex magnetic environment. It will complete 76 orbits, 45 close flybys of moon Titan and numerous flybys of other icy moons.

The live broadcast - Mission: Saturn - will include briefings at Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the crossing of Saturn's Ring Plane during Cassini-Huygens' critical orbit insertion sequence.

To celebrate the historic event, the channel will devote the whole day to space programmes.