Every Mission to Saturn, Ever

Only 4 spacecraft have ever made it out to Saturn. Our most comprehensive look at the planet came from NASA and the European Space Agency's Cassini-Huygens mission, which spent 13 years exploring Saturn and its moons.

Your Guide to Saturn

Saturn is the crown jewel of our solar system. It has a stunning set of rings, diverse moons, and so much more to explore.

Dragonfly

Launch: 2026
Arrival at Titan: 2034

NASA's Dragonfly is a robotic rotorcraft that will explore dozens of locations across Saturn's moon Titan. It will sample and measure the composition of organic surface materials to investigate Titan's habitability.

Cassini-Huygens

Launch: October 15, 1997
Orbit insertion: July 1, 2004
Huygens probe descent: January 14, 2005
Saturn entry: September 15, 2017

Cassini-Huygens' path to Saturn required two flybys of Venus (on April 26, 1998, and June 24, 1999), one of Earth (on August 18, 1999), and one of Jupiter (on December 30, 2010). During the Jupiter encounter, Cassini conducted coordinated observations with Galileo. The Huygens probe descent was wildly successful, revealing a strange new world of channels and basins on Titan. Cassini shaped its orbit around Saturn with numerous gravity-assist flybys of Titan, occasionally surveying Saturn from above or below (with lovely perspectives on the rings) and occasionally from within the ring plane (affording frequent encounters with Saturn's other, smaller moons). Cassini's mission was extended twice, and ended on September 15, 2017, after 293 complete orbits of Saturn, with the spacecraft's plunge into the atmosphere.

Voyager 2

Launch: August 20, 1977
Saturn encounter: June 5 to September 5, 1981

NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft flew past Saturn on August 26, 1981. It flew within 41,000 kilometers of the planet's cloud tops and provided scientists with almost 16,000 images of the planet, its moons and rings. While at Saturn, the two Voyager spacecraft discovered three new moons of Saturn, the intricate structure and spoke-like features of the ring system, and information about the planet's atmosphere and magnetic field.

Voyager 1

Launch: September 5, 1977
Saturn encounter: August 23 to December 15, 1980

NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft flew by Saturn on November 12, 1980, coming within 64,200 kilometers of the planet's cloud tops. During the flyby, the spacecraft took almost 16,000 images of Saturn, its moons, and ring system. Voyager 2's path past Saturn and Titan directed it up and out of the plane of the ecliptic, allowing scientists to get an overhead view of the planet and rings.

Pioneer 11

Launch: April 5, 1973
Saturn flyby: September 1, 1979

NASA's Pioneer 11 was the first spacecraft to fly by Saturn.