Status Report

NASA Cassini Significant Events 10/31/2012 – 11/06/2012

By SpaceRef Editor
November 11, 2012
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NASA Cassini Significant Events 10/31/2012 – 11/06/2012

The Cassini spacecraft is currently orbiting Saturn with a period of 24 days and inclined 39 degrees from the equatorial plane. The most recent spacecraft tracking and telemetry data were collected on Nov. 7 by the Deep Space Network’s 34 meter Station 55 at Madrid, Spain. With the exception of a few instrument issues identified previously, the spacecraft continues to be in an excellent state of health with all its subsystems operating normally. Information on the present position of the Cassini spacecraft may be found on the “Present Position” page at:

The line of sight from Saturn and Cassini to Earth has moved far enough away from the noisiest part of the solar corona that normal communications, and thus observations with the on-board science instruments, have resumed. The Radio Science team, though, is still acquiring scientific measurements of the corona by observing its effects on the S, X, and Ka-band downlink radio signals. Meanwhile, Sequence Implementation Process (SIP) teams continued working on the ten-week command sequences S77 and S78, which will go active in January and March respectively. The Science Planning and Sequencing Team and the Navigation Team are working on plans for the proximal orbits in 2017 and their operational implications.

Wednesday, Oct. 31 (DOY 305)

The Imaging Science Subsystem (ISS), the Composite Infrared Spectrometer (CIRS), and the Visible and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) performed the S75 sequence’s final observation in the Titan monitoring campaign from a distance of 1.9 million kilometers. The Cosmic Dust Analyzer (CDA) then began a 35.5-hour interstellar dust observation.

A news feature titled, “Cassini Halloween Treat: Titan Glows in the Dark” was published today, describing airglow from Saturn’s moon Titan. It may be found here:

Thursday, Nov. 1 (DOY 306)

Since Approach Science began in January 2004, there have been 278,980 ISS images and 148,087 VIMS cubes acquired and processed.

Friday, Nov. 2 (DOY 307)

The S76 sequence, which was uplinked last Tuesday, started its ten-week execution today by having ISS and VIMS perform a Titan monitoring campaign observation from a distance now of 2.1 million kilometers. VIMS did a Saturn storm watch observation and ISS performed an observation in the Satellite Orbit Campaign, looking near Saturn to improve knowledge of small satellites’ orbits or make new discoveries. Finally, ISS began a 33.5-hour movie of the lit face of the rings at high phase (sun-target-camera angle) in order to search for periodicities in the spokes.

The Attitude and Articulation Control Subsystem (AACS) team executed an end-of-sequence Reaction Wheel Assembly bias maneuver today to adjust wheel speeds while thrusters stabilized the spacecraft.

Saturday, Nov. 3 (DOY 308)

The Deep Space Network tracked Cassini on four days this week, using the 70 and 34 meter diameter stations in Spain.

Sunday, Nov. 4 (DOY 309)

ISS and VIMS performed another Titan monitoring observation, this one from 2.4 million kilometers away. VIMS did another storm watch observation, then ISS performed another satellite orbit campaign observation. Finally, ISS began another movie of the rings, this one taking 32 hours.

Monday, Nov. 5 (DOY 310)

Today’s Astronomy Picture of the Day is a mosaic, meticulously constructed by a dedicated amateur, using pictures taken during Cassini’s April 2010 flyby of Saturn’s moon Dione. The icy world exhibits far fewer impact craters on its leading hemisphere than on its trailing hemisphere. The image may be found here:

The Cassini website featured an image of Saturn’s small moon Methone, which looks like a smooth gray egg. It may be seen here:

Tuesday, Nov. 6 (DOY 311)

The Navigation team took five ISS images of Saturn’s moon Rhea against background stars for optical navigation purposes, then the Magnetometer performed a 13.5-hour calibration, rotating the spacecraft about its X-axis. While the DSN’s 70 meter station was carrying out two-way communications with Cassini, it also participated in an operational readiness test in preparation for the Radio Science rings and Saturn atmosphere occultation experiment coming up on Friday.

SpaceRef staff editor.