Cassini Significant Event Report

For Week Ending 10/17/03

The most recent spacecraft telemetry was acquired from the tracking station on Monday, October 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.

C39 activities this week included a continuation of last week's star observations and calibrations with the Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph (UVIS), Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS), and Imaging Science Subsystem (ISS) performing observations of alpha CMa. In addition, UVIS and ISS participated in image compression checkouts, wide-angle camera photometric calibrations, and blue star observations.

RADAR powered on this week, loaded flight software (FSW) from the SSR, and performed a nominal flight software (FSW) checkout. A VIMS FSW checkout was uplinked that will execute next week.

As part of this week's imaging activities, a number of calibration field images and optical navigation images of the Saturnian system was taken. None of the images was acquired due to the DSN station not locking up in time to support the downlink. Analysis of the current partition pointers and the planned recording during the current observation period make the recovery of the data impossible. The data will be overwritten before the next DSN pass. Another opportunity for this activity has already been planned for early in the Saturn approach phase.

Preliminary Sequence Integration and Validation (PSIV) and Final SIV sequence approval meetings were held this week for C40. After approval, the background sequence for C40 was uplinked to the spacecraft. The spacecraft successfully received all eight programs. Three of the eight were successfully placed in the CDS activation table. The remaining five are load-only programs - cyclics - and are waiting to be called by the background sequence program. Instrument Expanded Blocks for Ion and Neutral Mass Spectrometer, ISS, Radio and Plasma Wave Science, and UVIS were also uplinked.

This week marked the 6th Anniversary of the Cassini Launch on October 15th, 1997. The event fortuitously coincided with the 32nd Project Science Group meeting being held at JPL. This allowed many of the flight team members to get together to recognize this event.

The first preliminary port for science operations plan (SOP) integration of tour sequences S05 and S06, and the second preliminary port for the science planning team process for C43 occurred this week. Science Planning has begun the process of generating the handoff package for C42, the first approach science sequence.

A lab-wide display of the best of this week's Saturn images was displayed as part of the PSG activities.

The Navigation Team completed the simulation of the Trajectory Correction Maneuver (TCM) 22 approval and validation meetings as a part of the Navigation Saturn Orbit Insertion approach Test & Training activity. The simulation of the TCM Go/No Go meeting will be conducted next week.

A suite of Cassini-centric training classes was offered concurrently with the PSG. The timing was desirable to be able to provide necessary training to new flight team members to enable them to support Approach Science and tour operations. Uplink Operations coordinated and provided training in the Pointing Design Tool, Science Opportunity Analyzer, Cassini Information Management System, Automated Sequence Processor, and the Sequence Team process. Deep Space Mission System personnel gave instruction in Distributed Object Manager and the Multi-mission Ground Data System/DMD. Mission Support & Services Office gave training in Cassini specific security requirements and the Cassini SOS help desk, Instrument Operations lectured on the Planetary Data System and the E-Kernel, System Engineering gave talks on anomaly response and helpful stuff - miscellaneous items - of use to flight team members, and the Navigation Ancillary Information Facility provided a talk on Spacecraft, Planet, Instruments, C-matrix, and Events kernels.

Implementation began this week to transition the flight team from the existing cruise schedule to the tour schedule. Meetings have been aligned with tour processes to best enable all necessary flight team members to attend without schedule conflicts. The schedule will be in place and become active as of October 20th along with the start of the tour SSUP process for C42.

Cassini held a Delivery Coordination Meeting for the new Tracking, Telemetry, Command and Mission Data Management Services (TTC&DM) V28.1 software. This version supports the new Cassini workstation operating system and contains numerous enhancements including new telemetry packet processing. Deployment of the Solaris 9 OS has begun.

A Software Requirements Certification Review delivery meeting was held for Composite InfraRed Spectrometer v3.0 FSW. The FSW has been accepted to the project software library and approved for processing to uplink as part of the C40 sequence activities. Pending resolution of a few open items, the FSW will be uplinked to the spacecraft in early November.

Cassini/MSSO has requested the DSN Network Operations Project Engineer and TMS Manager initiate a team to look into Cassini's problems with high-rate telemetry (TLM) lockup. The objective is to be able to reliably achieve required TLM lockup times by start of Approach Science mission phase 10 January '04.

Cassini outreach provided DVD copies of the new planetarium show to visiting investigators attending this week's PSG meeting. Outreach also attended the International Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee to search for new and unique ways to present NASA mission information to the public.

A number of articles was published recently related to the possibility of the Huygens probe encountering liquid lakes when it descends upon Titan in 2005. For more information, go to the following:

First Extra solar Planets, now Extra solar Moons!

European Space Agency

8 October 2003

Delving Into the Liquid Intrigue of Saturn's Biggest Moon


New York Times

October 7, 2003

Radar reveals Titan's methane lakes

Stuart Clark

New Scientist

02 October 03

Cornell-led astronomers cut through Titan's atmosphere to find evidence for hydrocarbon lakes.

Additional information about Cassini-Huygens is online at

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.

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