Status Report

NASA Cassini Significant Events for 11/02/06 – 11/08/06

By SpaceRef Editor
November 10, 2006
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NASA Cassini Significant Events  for 11/02/06 – 11/08/06

The most recent spacecraft telemetry was acquired on Wednesday, Nov. 8, 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 at .

Thursday, Nov. 2 (DOY 306):

Last Friday it was reported that the Cosmic Dust Analyzer (CDA) instrument team wished to uplink a patch to its instrument flight software. The S25 sequence leads have received version 10.4 of the software with a test patch included. Execution of the patch is targeted for DOY 318-319.

Friday, Nov. 3 (DOY 307):

Today Cassini cruised past the satellites Enceladus and Calypso for a pair of non-targeted flybys.

Cassini’s 32nd orbit of Saturn began today. Rev 32 is the first in a series of four orbits with a period of 12 days at 55.4 degrees inclination.

An AACS friction test on backup reaction wheel #3 was executed today. A test of the backup wheel is performed every six months. The wheel is spun up to 600 rpm in both directions and timed as it is allowed to run down to zero. Results were nominal, with rundown times remaining above 40 minutes.

Monday, Nov. 6 (DOY 310):

Outreach has implemented new pages on the public website for those interested in tracking down more of the science results from the Cassini mission. The five links below will take you to a specific area of interest where publications may be found on the icy satellites, Titan, Saturn, the rings, and the magnetosphere.

Icy Satellites:





Tuesday, Nov. 7 (DOY 311):

An image of Saturn’s moon Janus is Astronomy Picture of the Day today.

Due to an anomaly with the MGS spacecraft, the DSN/Goldstone Cassini track over station DSS-14 was cut short to allow MGS time on the station. This resulted in a loss of telemetry and 2-way tracking data for about 4.5 hours.

The official input port occurred today as part of the S28 Science Operations Plan Update (SOPU) process. The merged products are currently being run through the end-to-end pointing validation process by AACS. The SOPU process will conclude on Nov. 22.

Wednesday, Nov. 8 (DOY 312):

When it rains it pours. Heavy rains over the DSN complex in Madrid, Spain, caused telemetry to drop lock numerous times. This resulted in a loss of telemetry for about 3.5 hours.

In addition, the track tomorrow over Goldstone station 14 was cut short again to allow MGS time on the station. The DSN schedulers have added coverage from DSS-15 for Cassini on DOY 313 for about 9 hours. A track on this day was very important for Cassini, as it is the primary uplink and execution window for Orbit Trim Maneuver #80. Stay tuned for next week’s report for status on that maneuver.

A kick-off meeting was held today for the second Live Inertial Vector Propagator (IVP) Update during S25. This update will execute over DOY 324-325. It was known at the time of this meeting that the update was desired for the Mimas and Dione observations. Input is still necessary from the teams regarding three Saturn observations. FOLLOWUP: By Thursday, Nov. 9, Science Planning had completed its analysis for the update. The update is a “go” so the Go/No Go meeting scheduled for Friday has been cancelled. RADAR team members will be running an analysis of the new ephemeris file and let the sequence leads know if a trigger for their instrument is necessary.

Elsewhere in the Solar System: Cassini Outreach coordinated a viewing of the rare transit of Mercury across the face of the sun. This event happens about 13 times each century. Eight hundred JPL employees, two tour groups, and one family member stopped on the Mall at JPL to view the event through four telescopes fitted with safe solar filters.

The Cassini Deputy Project Scientist gave a repeat of the science presentation given at the NASA quarterly on Monday, Oct. 30, to the flight team. Although all Cassini Team and Office leads support the Quarterly review, the science presentation has come to be valued by the flight team members as an opportunity to catch up on our discoveries over the previous three months.

Changes to activities in the S30 sequence were due today to Science Planning as part of the Aftermarket process. The S30 Assessment Meeting scheduled for tomorrow, Nov. 10, has been cancelled. It appears that there are quite a few changes needed, especially with data volume allocations and DSN requests. However, nearly all of the required changes are clean up so the Assessment Meeting on Nov. 10 will not be needed.

Cassini has observed something never before seen on another planet — a hurricane-like storm at Saturn’s South Pole with a well-developed eye, ringed by towering clouds. A NASA release has just been issued to notify the public of this discovery. The “hurricane” spans a dark area inside a thick, brighter ring of clouds. It is approximately 8,000 kilometers across, nearly two-thirds the diameter of Earth. For more information on this exciting discovery, a movie, high-resolution images, infrared images, and Saturn temperature maps, visit:

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 Spsce 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.