The complete Cassini space probe was launched on October 15, 1997, and after a long interplanetary voyage, it entered into orbit around Saturn on July 1, 2004. Cassini is the first space probe to orbit the planet Saturn and the fourth one to visit Saturn. The spacecraft consists of two main elements: the NASA-designed and -constructed Cassini orbiter, named for the Italian-French astronomer Giovanni Domenico Cassini, and the ESA-developed Huygens probe, named for the Dutch astronomer, mathematician and physicist Christiaan Huygens. On April 18, 2008, NASA announced a two-year extension of the funding for ground operations of this mission, at which point it was renamed to Cassini Equinox Mission. Cassini–Huygens is a joint NASA/ESA/ASI robotic spacecraft mission currently studying the planet Saturn and its many natural satellites. On December 25, 2004, the Huygens probe was separated from the orbiter at approximately 02: 00 UTC. Then, it reached Saturn' s moon Titan on January 14, 2005, when it made a descent into Titan' s atmosphere, and downwards to the surface, radioing scientific information back to the Earth by telemetry.
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