The most recent spacecraft tracking and telemetry data were collected on Oct. 10 by the Deep Space Network's 34 meter Station 55 at Madrid, Spain. Except for the Cassini Plasma Spectrometer, which is off, and the failed Ultrastable Oscillator, the Cassini 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: http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/mission/presentposition/.
Sequence Implementation Process teams worked on the ten-week command sequences S76, S77, and S78, which will go active in November, January, and March, respectively. An initial product due-date was set for S79 science team inputs. Meanwhile, Cassini continued executing commands from the S75 sequence in flight.
Wednesday, Oct. 3 (DOY 277)
The Composite Infrared Spectrometer (CIRS) completed its 24-hour mid-IR map of Saturn, then the Navigation team took five images of Saturn's moon Dione against the background stars with the Imaging Science Subsystem (ISS) for optical navigation purposes. The Magnetometer performed a 7.5-hour calibration while rotating the spacecraft about its X-axis.
Thursday, Oct. 4 (DOY 278)
ISS, CIRS and the Visible and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) performed another observation in the Titan monitoring campaign at a distance of 3.5 million kilometers. The Cosmic Dust Analyzer (CDA) began a 13.5-hour interstellar dust observation.
Friday, Oct. 5 (DOY 279)
Today the Radio Science team began this year's Superior Conjunction Experiment as Cassini approaches the Sun as seen in Earth's sky. The experiment studies the solar corona by measuring its effects on Cassini's S-band, X-band and Ka-band downlink carrier signals, two bands at a time depending on the supporting Deep Space Network (DSN) stations' capabilities. A DSN station in Madrid, Spain, participated today, and will again on Saturday and Sunday.
Saturday, Oct. 6 (DOY 280)
ISS, CIRS and VIMS made another Titan monitoring campaign observation, and ISS made an observation in the Satellite Orbit Campaign. ISS then created a 9-hour 40-minute movie of the lit face of Saturn's rings at high phase in order to search for periodicities in the spokes.
The Attitude and Articulation Control Subsystem (AACS) team executed two Reaction Wheel Assembly bias maneuvers this week to adjust wheel speeds, one today, and another one on Tuesday. Both were conducted while the DSN was tracking Cassini, so the Navigation team was able to measure the slight delta-V imparted by the thrusters.
Cassini passed through apoapsis, having reached 2.7 million kilometers from the planet and having slowed to 7,314 kilometers per hour relative to Saturn. This marked the beginning of Cassini's 173rd orbit.
Sunday, Oct. 7 (DOY 281)
While in the vicinity of apoapsis, CDA performed additional interstellar dust observations on Friday, again today, and will repeat on the next two days.
Monday, Oct. 8 (DOY 282)
The AACS team began executing an end-to-end dry run in the ground-based Integrated Test Laboratory of the procedure to install the new version A8.9.0 AACS flight software on the spacecraft. The installation is scheduled for this December.
An image of the F ring was featured today, showing a breakaway clump of icy ring material. The narrow F ring orbits Saturn just outside the "main" rings that are easily visible from Earth. The "ever-changing ring" may be seen here: http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/photos/imagedetails/index.cfm?imageId=4643
Tuesday, Oct. 9 (DOY 283)
Orbit Trim Maneuver 333, the apoapsis maneuver targeting to the Titan T-87 encounter, was performed this morning using the main engine. The 4.3-second burn provided Cassini a delta-V of about 0.76 meters per second.
Visit the JPL Cassini home page for more information about the Cassini Project: http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/