Status Report

ESA Huygens Status Report – February 2004

By SpaceRef Editor
February 13, 2004
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Mission status

The Cassini/Huygens spacecraft is performing nominally. Cassini has entered
the Saturn approach science phase and regular distant observations of Saturn
have started. A new series of Saturn images was obtained with the Orbiter
narrow angle camera in December. Coordinated observations of Saturn.s
aurorae by the Hubble Space telescope are planned for January/February while
Cassini will monitor the solar wind conditions when approaching Saturn in
order to shed some light on the Solar Wind/Saturn magnetosphere interaction
processes. The preparation activities for the in-flight engineering
demonstration of the Probe Relay Sequence, planned on 29 February-4 March
2004, are ongoing.

Revised Huygens mission implementation

The probe system and instrument on-board software patches implementing the
pre-heating options were successfully up-loaded on the flight probe on 7
December 2003. A few days later, two in-flight checkout sequences were
successfully executed that validated the on-board implementation of the
software patches and their compatibility with either the pre-heating or the
no pre-heating option.

Delta Flight Acceptance Review (Delta-FAR)

The Huygens Delta-FAR is an Agency-level review with the objective of
examining the changes to the mission implemented since the FAR that was
conducted 6 months before launch in 1997.

The overall objectives of the review are:

  • Validation of the new mission scenario designed to recover from the radio receiver design fault
  • Re-validation of the entry and descent performances
  • Confirmation of the readiness of flight operations preparation for therevised Huygens Mission.

Three panels have been formed according to the three main objectives
outlined above. Panel members include experts from both ESTEC and ESOC D/TOS
Departments, Project and mission team personnel from D/SCI and other ESA
directorates, experts from DLR and CNES as part of the cross-participation
to reviews between ESA and National Centers, and Huygens payload experts.

The Review Kick-Off meeting was held on 3 December 2003. The panels will
write their reports by end of the first week of February and the final Board
Meeting (co-chaired by ESA’s Science Director and Inspector General) is
planned for 13 February 2004.

SpaceRef staff editor.