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Cassini Update
Cassini Update
30 Nov 2001
(Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory)

Cassini Weekly Significant Events for 11/21/01 - 11/28/01

The most recent spacecraft telemetry was acquired from the Madrid tracking station on Wednesday, October 24. The Cassini spacecraft is in an excellent state of health and is operating normally. Information on the spacecraft's position and speed can be viewed on the "Present Position" web page:

The most recent spacecraft telemetry was acquired from the Goldstone tracking station on Wednesday, November 28. The Cassini spacecraft is in an excellent state of health and is operating normally. Recent instrument activities include a Radio and Plasma Wave Science (RPWS) High Frequency Receiver calibration, instruments waking up after the Huygens Probe Relay test, the Ka-Band Exciter and Traveling Wave Tube Amplifier powering on, and all instruments going quiet for the Gravitational Wave Experiment (GWE). Engineering activities taking place onboard the spacecraft this week include a transition to Reaction Wheel Assembly (RWA) control from the Reaction Control Subsystem and an RWA unload in preparation for the GWE.

The Cassini Radio Science team began the GWE on November 25. This is the first prime science objective on the Cassini Program, and will run for 40 days, ending on January 4, with two more opportunities later during the cruise phase of the mission. The GWE research scientists will use radio transmissions between Cassini and Earth to search for gravitational waves measurably warping space between the two, using continuous coverage throughout the 40-day experiment to maximize the chances of detecting the extremely weak waves.

The multi-day Probe Relay test was completed this week. The tests were required to check out the communications link between the Huygens probe and the Cassini orbiter spacecraft. Using the Goldstone DSS-24 antenna, a series of signals was transmitted to Huygens, via Cassini, to simulate the stream of data that will be sent back by Huygens during its parachute descent through Titan's atmosphere. This test represented a major step towards the validation of the Huygens Recovery Task Force design, testing the nominal mission scenario and several deviations from it. While it will take a few months to fully analyze the data, initial indications show that all objectives were successfully met.

A demonstration of uplink and downlink capabilities at the Emergency Control Center (ECC) was conducted last week and test reports indicate that all command, tracking, monitor and telemetry data functions worked successfully. Further testing of the ECC is planned after completion of the GWE.

A Project Briefing was held to review the C31 Science Planning Team integrated plan. The Program Manager approved the contents of the plan, and C31 sequence generation will continue into the next phase of the process. Other Science Planning activities included the Saturn, Cross-Discipline, and Ring Target Working Teams meeting last week to finish integrating the Tour segments associated with Orbits 4 through 10.

The Imaging Science Subsystem and the Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) teams delivered various software packages to the Multi-mission Image Processing Laboratory (MIPL) Integration and Test organization as a part of MIPL delivery D27. The delivery to Operations will be in February 2002. The delivery includes software to analyze data policing losses, extract background, mirror data, and internal housekeeping measurements from the VIMS Level 1A products, improve validation of observation description files delivered from the Science Teams, build such observation description files in order to easily generate test data, and improve handling of VIMS data when the visible portion arrives before the infrared.

The Cassini Project scientist and deputy are attending the American Astronomical Society Division for Planetary Science meeting in New Orleans. A number of Cassini at Jupiter papers have been presented.

Cassini 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, Calif., manages the Cassini mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C.

Cassini Outreach
Cassini Mission to Saturn and Titan
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
California Institute of Technology
National Aeronautics and Space Administration

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Last Updated: 5 Dec 2001