The most recent spacecraft telemetry was acquired on Feb. 1 from the Deep Space Network tracking complex at Madrid, Spain. The Cassini spacecraft is in an excellent state of health and all subsystems are operating normally. Information on the present position and speed of the Cassini spacecraft may be found on the "Present Position" page at: http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/mission/presentposition/.
Wednesday, Jan. 27 (DOY 027)
A Sun Sensor Assembly (SSA) checkout was performed during the rolling downlink pass on DOY 027-028. The checkout showed that both SSAs are performing properly, and SSA-B - the redundant backup unit - was powered off via real-time command at 2010-028T02:34:44 SCET.
An image of Tethys coming out from behind Titan was Astronomy Picture of the Day today. The image can be found at:
Today Imaging Science (ISS) observed Prometheus as the spacecraft passed within 33,000 km of the tiny moon that helps shape Saturn¹s F ring. Today was also a day for Dione observations. The Composite Infrared Spectrometer (CIRS) observed the moon to map temperatures on both the night side and dayside, and the Magnetometer watched for signatures of Dione in the magnetic field.
Thursday, Jan. 28 (DOY 028)
On January 28, Cassini flew by Titan at an altitude of 7,490 kilometers and a speed of 5.7 km/sec. Closest approach occurred at 3:42 PM PST and latitude of 53 degrees S. This Titan 66 flyby was a high-altitude encounter where ISS acquired high-resolution observations during and after closest-approach. On the inbound leg, the Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) had an opportunity for a stellar occultation, which will allow the instrument team to constrain the composition and the spectral properties of the atmosphere of Titan. In addition, VIMS monitored for mid-latitude clouds, which are predicted to vanish during Titan's northern spring according to global circulation models. For the full details on the science during the T66 flyby link to the Mission Description:
A news note called "Prometheus: Over Easy" highlighted a raw, unprocessed image of the moon. The moon, one of Saturn's innermost, looked like a celestial egg after a session in Saturn's skillet in this image from Jan. 27, 2010. The image and note can be found at:
Friday, Jan. 29 (DOY 029)
While Mars shines brightly in the eastern sky this month, Saturn is not far behind, rising by 9:30 PM PST this week, and by 7:30 PM at the end of February. Compare reddish Mars high above crème colored Saturn. Here are Viewing Saturn tips for 2010 provided as part of the Saturn Observation Campaign:
Sunday, Jan. 31 (DOY 031)
Orbit Trim Maneuver (OTM) #236 was performed today. This was the cleanup maneuver from the Titan 66 encounter on Jan. 28. The main engine burn began at 9:14 PM PST. Telemetry immediately after the maneuver showed a burn duration of 36.225 seconds, giving a delta-V of 6.199 m/s. All subsystems reported nominal performance after the maneuver.
Monday, Feb. 1 (DOY 032):
A weeklong Cassini Project Science Group meeting began today at JPL. This will be the 50th gathering of Cassini science investigators for this three-times-per-year event since the start of the mission.
A close-up image of Prometheus is Astronomy Picture of the Day today. Check it out at:
Tuesday, Feb. 2 (DOY 033)
The Science Planning (SP) pointing analysis for the DOY 44 Mimas and Calypso live update period has been released. Based on the targeting error, SP recommended a No-Go for the update. The Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph team has verified that the 0.97 mrad error for Calypso is acceptable and a No-Go consensus is in place for SP, UVIS, VIMS, ISS, and CIRS. As a result, the DOY 044 Live Update has been canceled.