Status Report

NASA Cassini Significant Events for 05/30/07 – 06/05/07

By SpaceRef Editor
June 10, 2007
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NASA Cassini Significant Events for 05/30/07 – 06/05/07

The most recent spacecraft telemetry was acquired on Tuesday, June 5, from the Madrid tracking complex. The Cassini spacecraft is in an excellent state of health and all subsystems are operating normally. Information on the present position and speed of the Cassini spacecraft may be found on the “Present Position” web page located at

Wednesday, May 30 (DOY 150):

Science this week is dominated by apoapsis observations. The Magnetospheric and Plasma Science instrument teams will be performing Saturn magnetospheric studies, the Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) will lead a rings mosaic observation with the Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph and Composite Infrared Spectrometer taking part, and the Imaging Science Subsystem continues a series of several observations of the smaller satellites.

Thursday, May 31 (DOY 151):

Orbit Trim Maneuver (OTM) 113 was performed today. This is the cleanup maneuver from the Titan 31 encounter on May 28. The main engine burn began at 7:00 PM PST. Telemetry immediately after the maneuver showed the burn duration was 4.3 seconds, giving a delta-V of 0.69 m/s. With the slower “hydrazine efficient” yaw turn rates, 50.3g of hydrazine were used. All subsystems reported nominal performance after the maneuver.

An electronic postcard, or e-postcard, using the VIMS image “Neon Saturn”, was issued today. Flying over the unlit side of Saturn’s rings, the image displays Saturn’s glow, represented in brilliant shades of electric blue, sapphire and mint green, while the planet’s shadow casts a wide net on the rings. To view the image and display the full text of the caption, link to:

Friday, June 1 (DOY 152):

The European Space Agency put out six news releases today. The full text of each release is maintained on the Cassini Website and may be accessed from:

The subjects and descriptions of the releases are listed below:

Building Our New View of Titan – Today, two and a half years after the historic landing of ESA’s Huygens probe on Titan, a new set of results on Saturn’s largest moon is ready to be presented. Titan, as seen through the eyes of Huygens, still holds exciting surprises, scientists say.

Revealing Titan’s Rugged Surface – During its two and a half hour descent, the cameras on Huygens showed eager scientists on Earth spectacular regions of bright highlands with river drainages and canyons, bounded by dark plains on Titan. New information about the composition of the landing region is now ready for the public.

Titan’s Mysterious Radio Wave – Huygens scored a first in 2005 by measuring the electrical conductivity of Titan’s atmosphere. The results hint at a new way to investigate the subsurface layers of Titan and could provide insight into whether or not Titan has a subsurface ocean.

Dissecting the Dirt on Titan – Planetary scientists are a step closer to understanding the composition of the dust in Titan’s atmosphere. A decade-long program of laboratory studies, aiming to reproduce Titan’s unique dust, or ‘aerosol’ population in specially constructed reactors, has proved invaluable.

Huygens’ Path to Titan – Scientists now know exactly how Huygens made its way through the atmosphere to the surface of Titan. The reconstruction of the trajectory is particularly valuable for a correct interpretation of the observations from all six scientific investigations on board.

The Way the Wind Blows on Titan – A simulation of the winds encountered by Huygens has led planetary scientists to believe that its entire atmosphere is circulating around on a conveyor belt. This huge system of moving gas transports warm air from the southern hemisphere to Titan’s north pole and back again.

Monday, June 4 (DOY 155):

The S34 kick-off meeting for the Science Operations Plan Update process was held today. The S34 time period, September 22 to October 31, 2007, has been divided into four sequences: S34A which will contain nominal spacecraft and science operations, a window with no science in it carved out for the uplink and test of new flight software CDS Version 10, a mini-sequence to observe Hyperion that will execute if the flight software check-out completes in time, and S34B, back to nominal spacecraft and science operations. Each of the three science pieces of S34 will be developed in parallel as complete, independent sequences.

Tuesday, June 5 (DOY 156):

The final process for the development of the S33 sequence kicked off today. Merged Subsequence Generation products based on the second merge from the Science Operations Plan Update phase and stripped sequence files have been released to the team for review.

An encounter strategy meeting was held today to cover the period between June 13 and June 29, Titan flybys T32 and T33, and maneuvers 116-118.

Orbit Trim Maneuver (OTM) #114 was performed today. This is the apoapsis maneuver setting up for the Titan 32 encounter on June 13. The main engine burn began at 11:14 AM PDT. Telemetry immediately after the maneuver showed the burn duration was 75.6 seconds, giving a delta-V of 12.22 m/s. OTM-114 was the largest burn in the last 19 months. The last time the flight team performed a maneuver in the double digits was OTM-41, on October 31, 2005, at 12.4 m/sec. The team is continuing to use the slower “hydrazine efficient” yaw turn rates. Hydrazine consumption for this maneuver was 56.7 g. All subsystems reported nominal performance after the maneuver.

Cassini Outreach will be showing Saturn to members of the general public at the Grand Canyon National Park Star Party North Rim on June 12 and 13, and at the Bryce Canyon National Park on June 14-16. These annual events are sponsored by the National Parks with assistance from dozens of amateur astronomer volunteers. If you’re traveling to these great western US national parks, drop in for free viewing of Saturn, and many other objects. Grand Canyon Star Party both North and South Rim dates are June 9 – 16, Bryce Canyon Astronomy Festival is June 13 – 16.

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.