Video file for media and public use. On April 26, 2017, NASA's Cassini spacecraft will begin the final chapter of its long-running mission: a series of daring dives between the planet Saturn and its icy rings. Cassini launched on October 15, 1997, and arrived at Saturn on July 1, 2004 (PDT). As its "Grand Finale," the mission will study a never-before-explored region very close to the planet. The spacecraft is expected to take ultra-close images of Saturn’s rings and clouds, while revealing new details about the planet's interior and the origins of the rings. After 22 of these orbits, each taking a week to complete, the spacecraft will plunge into the giant planet's upper atmosphere, where it will burn up like a meteor, ending the epic mission to the Saturn system.