Welcome to “Today in Space,” where we peer back in our archives to find great moments in spaceflight and astronomy. So enjoy a blast from the past with Space.com’s Hanneke Weitering to look back at what happened today in space on June 24, 1999!
On June 24, 1999, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft flew by Venus while making its way to Saturn. Taking advantage Venus’s gravity, Cassini gained enough momentum during the encounter to slingshot out past the asteroid belt.
An artist’s impression of Cassini flying by Venus
Credit: David Seal/NASA
This was actually the second time Cassini swooped around Venus for a so-called gravitational-assist flyby. It passed within 3,700 miles (6,000 kilometers) of the planet’s surface before flinging out into the solar system.
After Venus, Cassini flew by Earth, the Moon, and Jupiter before arriving at Saturn. The whole trip from Venus to Saturn took about five years!
And that’s what happened, Today in Space!