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NASA Cassini Significant Events 09/22/10 - 09/28/10

Status Report From: Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Posted: Friday, October 8, 2010

image The most recent spacecraft telemetry was acquired on Sept. 28 from the Deep Space Network tracking complex at Madrid, Spain. 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" page at: http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/mission/presentposition/.

Wednesday, Sept. 22 (DOY 265)

Port 3 products were due today as part of the S65 Sequence Implementation Process (SIP). The products will be merged and sent out to the flight team for review.

This week in science, the Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph (UVIS), Composite Infrared Spectrometer (CIRS) and the Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) took advantage of two stellar occultation opportunities and performed a collaborative observation of Saturn's atmosphere. In the first occultation, UVIS, CIRS and VIMS used the star "alpha-orionis", more commonly called "Betelgeus", to produce detailed spectral profiles of Saturn's atmosphere. Then, for the second occultation, UVIS used "Beta Orionis", more commonly called "Rigel", to study Saturn's atmosphere in ultraviolet wavelengths. Following the occultations, CIRS took a 6 hour observation tracking the limb of Saturn during periapse, the closest point of the orbit around Saturn. This will allow studies of the thermal structure of Saturn's stratosphere by means of limb sounding in the mid-infrared wavelength. UVIS performed a scan across Saturn's atmosphere and hemisphere to form spectral images.

Thursday, Sept. 23 (DOY 266)

Real time command procedure SCO-1794 to normalize the Command and Data Subsystem (CDS) Solid State Recorder (SSR) load successfully went through final Integrated Test Laboratory (ITL) end-to-end test today. Normalization makes all four copies of the CDS flight software on the SSRs equivalent.

Non-targeted flybys of Enceladus, Calypso, and Polydeuces occurred today.

A new movie and images showing Saturn's shimmering aurora over a two-day period are helping scientists understand what drives some of the solar system's most impressive light shows. The movie and images are part of a new study that, for the first time, extracts auroral information from the entire catalogue of Saturn images taken by the visual and infrared mapping spectrometer instrument (VIMS). For more information on this subject and images, link to: http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/news/cassinifeatures/feature20100923b/

Friday, Sept. 24 (DOY 267)

The Titan 72 encounter occurred today at an altitude of 8175 kilometers and a speed of 5.7 km/sec. This flyby is the first in a series of high-altitude Titan flybys over the next year and a half. During this high altitude flyby, VIMS mapped at a resolution of 5 kilometers per pixel an equatorial region of the trailing hemisphere known as Belet. The resulting mosaic will complement the mosaics obtained during T-66 and T-67. After closest approach, VIMS performed a global mapping of Titan looking for clouds at northern mid-latitudes and near the poles. The imaging science subsystem (ISS) rode along with VIMS throughout. For more information link to: http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/mission/flybys/titan20100924/.

Monday, Sept. 27 (DOY 270)

A kickoff meeting was held today for the S67 SIP. Port 1 for the first set of input files from the teams occurs Oct. 12.

Five real time command procedures for the Attitude and Articulation Control Subsystem (AACS) A8.8.0 flight software load successfully went through final ITL end-to-end test today; testing will continue through Oct. 1.

Cassini is once again Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD). A repeat of Cassinis 2007 image of Saturns auroras by VIMS is today's Astronomy Picture of the Day. To go to the image, link to: http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap100927.html.

Turning a midsummer night's dream into reality, NASA's Cassini spacecraft begins its new mission extension -- the Cassini Solstice Mission -- today. The mission extension will take Cassini a few months past Saturn's northern summer solstice through September 2017. It will enable scientists to study seasonal changes and other long-term weather changes on Saturn and its moons. For more information on this subject, link to: http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/news/cassinifeatures/feature20100927/.

Tuesday, Sept. 28 (DOY 271)

Orbit Trim Maneuver #263, the T72 clean-up maneuver scheduled for today, was cancelled. There was no impact to science or overall delta-V.

Today is the start of Superior Conjunction, which will continue through Oct. 3. The Sun-Earth-Probe (SEP) angle will be less than 3 degrees during this time. The minimum SEP angle of 2.12 degrees will take place on Sept. 30.

The most recent Cassini-Huygens Analysis and Results of the Mission (CHARM) teleconference was held Sept. 28. The topic: "Satellite-magnetosphere interactions at Jupiter and Saturn." A PDF of the presentation package may be obtained at: http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/video/products/MultimediaProductsCharm/. An audio recording of the presentation was made and will be linked to the same location within a few days.

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