Cassini Significant Event Report
For Week Ending 11/12/04
The most recent spacecraft telemetry was acquired from the Goldstone tracking station on Wednesday, November 10. The Cassini spacecraft is in an excellent state of health and is operating normally. Information on the present position and speed of the Cassini spacecraft may be found on the "Present Position" web page located at http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/operations/present-position.cfm .
Recent science activities included the first Voyager-type spatial resolution images of Tethys. The Cosmic Dust Analyzer (CDA) performed E-ring measurements and a dust environment survey. Around the middle of the week, near apoapsis, the Magnetospheric and Plasma Science (MAPS) instruments began the first Magnetospheric Boundaries campaign to provide high-resolution measurements in and around Saturn's bow shock and magnetosphere over the dawn side of the planet. Towards the end of the week, the Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph (UVIS) instrument searched for flashes from meter-sized interplanetary impactors on the rings to constrain the flux of the impact population to investigate ring origin and evolution, and the Imaging Science Subsystem (ISS) instrument imaged newly discovered satellites. The Composite and Infrared Spectrometer (CIRS) monitored the F-ring, and performed observations to determine Saturn's atmospheric composition.
Additional on-board activities for this week included the approval and radiation of modifications to the ACS occultation commands for the Titan-b flyby, a RADAR calibration, and Periodic Engineering Maintenance for the Cassini Orbiter.
The Probe Mission end-to-end test is continuing in the Integrated Test Laboratory. The test, which started on November 2, 2004, simulates the period from December 15, 2004, to January 16, 2005, including the Probe Targeting Maneuver, Probe Release, Orbit Deflection Maneuver and Probe Relay and data playback. This week, as part of the simulation, a support equipment problem caused the Stellar Reference Unit to "lose" stars and the test bed went through a simulated safing event following the Orbiter Deflection Maneuver that will occur on December 27. The team recovered the "spacecraft" and continued the test. The test will complete Friday, November 12, 2004.
Sequence development is ongoing for tour sequences S06 through S11, and S37 through S40.
The final version of the S06 sequence was approved this week along with a waiver requested by the Ion and Neutral Mass Spectrometer instrument team. Uplink of files for S06 will occur November 12-14 and the sequence will begin execution on Monday November 15.
A Preliminary Sequence Integration and Validation waiver disposition meeting was held as part of sequence development for tour sequence S07.
A waiver disposition meeting was held as part of Science Operations Plan (SOP) Update of S09. One waiver was approved and two were discussed and will be dispositioned at a later time.
All teams and offices participated in the Quarterly NASA / Cassini review.
Cassini Outreach made the cover of the metro section in the Louisville, Kentucky Courier-Journal as a result of participation at the AAS Division of Planetary Sciences Meeting in Louisville, KY. Outreach also presented "Reading, Writing, and Rings" at the California Reading Association conference in San Jose, CA, and the National Science Teachers Association Regional Conference in Indianapolis, IN. In Indianapolis the Outreach folks gave two Cassini workshops, and spoke with over 700 educators during the 3-day event. Around 2,700 science educators attended the convention.
Numerous additional articles and news releases relating to Cassini, the Huygens Probe, and Saturn were published this week. For some of what can be found, check out the web sites for the European Space Agency, University of Colorado, UA News Service, the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council Swindon, U.K., New Scientist, and Sky & Telescope.