Status Report

NASA Cassini Significant Events for 02/02/06 – 02/08/06

By SpaceRef Editor
February 12, 2006
Filed under , , ,
NASA Cassini Significant Events  for 02/02/06 – 02/08/06

The most recent spacecraft telemetry was acquired Wednesday, February 8, from the Goldstone tracking stations. The Cassini spacecraft is in an excellent state of health and is operating normally. Information on the present position and speed of the Cassini spacecraft may be found on the “Present Position” web page located at .

Thursday, February 2 (DOY 033):

Orbit trim maneuver (OTM) # 51 was successfully performed today. This is the apoapsis maneuver setting up for the Titan 11 encounter on February 27. The Reaction Control Subsystem burn began at 01:00 AM Pacific Time. Telemetry obtained immediately after the maneuver showed the burn duration was 203.25 seconds, giving a delta-V of 0.186 m/s. All subsystems reported nominal performance after the OTM.

Friday, February 3 (DOY 034):

This evening, a cold blustery night in Maine, a Brunswick, ME, Saturn Observation Campaign member hosted a backyard Saturn viewing for Longfellow Elementary School’s third grade class. Ooh’s and Aah’s were followed by hot cocoa and images from Cassini. At the same time, in Corsicana, TX, the Navarro College Planetarium presented a Ring World Star party, and in Ahmedabad, India, a Saturn observation and bird count was conducted. Rain dampened the skies but not the enthusiasm of Saturn Observation Campaign members in Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Michigan, Lima, Peru, and Mexico City. They plan to try again later this month.

Saturday, February 4 (DOY 035):

The San Antonio, Texas, Astronomical Association presented Saturn Night Live this evening. Other Saturn Observation campaign events were held in Southern California, Mexico City, and at the Virginia Living Museum in Newport News, Virginia.

Sunday, February 5 (DOY 036):

On Sunday, at apoapsis, Cassini began orbit #21 and reached a distance of 4.1 million km from Saturn. This is the farthest the spacecraft has been from the planet since November of 2004. The Radio and Plasma Wave Science (RPWS) instrument took advantage of this distance to perform an antenna calibration. The activity enabled them to measure the electrical orientation of their antennas to determine whether these have changed since the release of the Huygens Probe.

Monday, February 6 (DOY 037):

The satellites Pan, Atlas, Helene, Calypso, Janus, Epimetheus, Pallene, Polydeuces, Telesto, Methone, Pandora, and Prometheus were each observed multiple times this week for the purpose of improving the determination of their orbits. Also captured this week was a transit of Rhea across Tethys. In addition, the Imaging Science Subsystem and Visible and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer spent fifty hours searching for lightning over Saturn’s northern hemisphere.

Tuesday, February 7 (DOY 038):

Reference Trajectory update status and plans were discussed today at the Mission Planning Forum. Of the four trajectory options under review, two were identified as the most attractive to the science teams. A follow up meeting has been scheduled for next week to discuss final science inputs. The decision on which option to adopt will be made on Wednesday, February 22.

A DOY 054-058 live Inertial Vector Propagator (IVP) update kick-off meeting was held today. Analysis of the pointing assessment indicated that an update was not necessary. All participating teams agreed and the update has been cancelled.

Wednesday, February 8 (DOY 039):

An Encounter Strategy Meeting for the Titan 11 and 12 flybys was held today. The time period involved is February 27 through March 18, and includes OTMs 53 through 55. Topics included special mission activities, a sequence overview, live IVP updates, consumables, sequence contingency planning, Navigation schedule, maneuver design, predicted orbit determination accuracy, maneuver cancellation, DSN coverage, infrastructure and subsystem status, and special issues if any.

The Project Briefing for S20 was held today. The Science Operations Plan update product is in the process of being handed off to the sequence leads for the start of the final sequence generation process that begins on February 13.

A close-up image of Tethys’ battle scars is Astronomy Picture of the Day today.

A delivery coordination meeting was held today for RAMPAGE version 2.4.1, an upgraded Web-based telemetry viewer and red alarm display application, and for version 3.1 of the Cassini Archive Tracking System (CATS). CATS is a web application tool that tracks required archive submissions into the Planetary Data System (PDS). It allows the project and the PDS to accurately and efficiently report on archive submission status, and facilitates communication between teams, projects, and the PDS.

Saturn Observation Campaign events will be held February 9 in Perris, California, on February 10-12 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and on February 11 in San Juan Talpa, El Salvador, and in Cumbria, England.

Enjoy a trio of celestial objects this weekend. Saturn and the beehive cluster of stars will be above, then next to, and then below the moon on February 10-12.

Wrap up:

Check out the Cassini web site at for the latest press releases and images.

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 Cassini-Huygens mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. JPL designed, developed and assembled the Cassini orbiter.

SpaceRef staff editor.