Mission Control Center Logo

A mission control center (MCC, sometimes called a flight control center or operations center) is a facility that manages space flights, usually from the point of launch until landing or the end of the mission. It is part of the ground segment of spacecraft operations. A staff of flight controllers and other support personnel monitor all aspects of the mission using telemetry, and send commands to the vehicle using ground stations. Personnel supporting the mission from an MCC can include representatives of the attitude control system, power, propulsion, thermal, attitude dynamics, orbital operations and other subsystem disciplines. The training for these missions usually falls under the responsibility of the flight controllers, typically including extensive rehearsals in the MCC.

The original goal of Cassini-Huygens was to study Saturn and its large, misty, tortured, moon Titan. Titan, the second-largest moon in our Solar System, after Ganymede of Jupiter, is a world long-shrouded in mystery, hiding behind a thick orange veil, and slashed with hydrocarbon lakes and seas. However, there are other enticing moons known to circle the ringed planet. Saturn's mid-sized icy moons (Mimas, Enceladus, Tethys, Dione, Rhea, Hyperion, Iapetus, and Phoebe) are enchanting worlds. Each one of these frozen little moons reveals an interesting and unique geology. So far, Saturn is known to sport 62 icy moons! As time passed, the region would have cooled down considerably and contracted--thus pulling away from its surroundings and forming fractures akin to the cracks that form in mud as it becomes dry--but on a considerably larger scale. These icy moon-worlds are the next important step in the scientific quest for the Holy Grail of life beyond our own planet. It is a strange era in human history. Astronomers have collected large amounts of data revealing bewitching clues that habitable ocean moon-worlds may be out there, within the family of our very own Star. Humanity is poised at the beginning of a new era. Sophisticated new technology might very soon answer the profound, and very ancient question, "Are we alone?"