Cassini Significant Event Report
For Week Ending 08/09/02
The most recent spacecraft telemetry was acquired from the Goldstone tracking station on Tuesday, August 6. 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.
On board activities this week included an autonomous Solid State Recorder memory load partition repair, clearing of the ACS high water marks, calibrations of the Radio and Plasma Wave Science High Frequency Receiver, and RADAR periodic instrument maintenance.
Science Planning reported completion of the third and final input port products for Science Operations Plan development of the S09/S10 tour sequences. The sequences will be completed in two weeks. In addition, a kick-off meeting was held for the Science Planning Team process for C35.
The Navigation Team has analyzed radiometric data gathered during the solar conjunction that has been conditioned by a technique developed by the Cassini Radio Science Team. The results are very positive. Typically, media noise during solar conjunction corrupts the ranging and Doppler data to such an extent that the data sets are unusable. However, by using the Ka band signal received during the recent solar conjunction experiment, members of the Radio Science Team were able to remove the media effects from the X-band signal with remarkable success. This capability will have little effect on Cassini's interplanetary navigation, but could be a significant help for orbit estimation during the tour phase.
Topics at this week's Mission Planning Forum included a presentation by the Navigation team of their findings on the impact of moving Orbit Trim Maneuver -11, a deterministic maneuver near Saturn periapsis, to accommodate Satellite Orbiter Science Team science, and the possibilities for conducting a Titan dress rehearsal for the RADAR instrument prior to Saturn Orbit Insertion.
Members of the Uplink Operations Team traveled to the University of Arizona to give a demonstration of the Science Opportunity Analyzer tool to Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) instrument personnel. VIMS has volunteered to do an evaluation of the tool to assist in determining what additional resources should be invested in further development.
The Spacecraft Office held a Monthly Management Review of CDS and ACS flight software, SOI and probe relay critical sequence development, and the Integrated Test Laboratory. These activities are on schedule and have no significant problems.
Several Cassini teams and offices supported the NASA Quarterly review on Monday, August 5.
Cassini Formal Education, a part of Cassini's Outreach program, conducted a workshop designed to build two Reading and Language Arts units focusing on Saturn and the Cassini Mission. The workshop involved six elementary school teachers, the Bay Area Writing Project, Project FIRST, JPL, and the Caltech Pre-College Science Initiative. Continued engagement with the K-4 community has been made more difficult by the imposition of standardized testing in language. Pressure is being exerted on teachers to eliminate the teaching of science in K-4 in favor of more time for language instruction. The current materials that teachers are given from publishers deal mostly with fiction based reading and writing. Non-fiction, expository reading and writing using the science from the Cassini mission will help fill this curricular gap.
Additional information about Cassini-Huygens is online at http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov.
Cassini will begin orbiting Saturn on July 1, 2004, and release its piggybacked Huygens probe about six months later for descent through the thick atmosphere of the moon Titan. Cassini-Huygens is a cooperative mission of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C.