January 16, 2014
On Jan. 16, 2014 the usual stream of ones and zeros shared between Cassini and the DSN had a little something extra added in. A message from the Cassini team was converted to computer code and inserted into an unused portion of the spacecraft’s command sequence, then bounced from Earth to Cassini and back.
The message: “Congratulations Deep Space Network on 50 Years of Communications and Discovery!”
The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging team is based at the Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo.