The most recent spacecraft telemetry was acquired on July 13 from the Deep Space Network tracking complex at Canberra, Australia. 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, July 7 (DOY 188)
The Spacecraft Operations Office sent updated Composite Infrared Spectrometer (CIRS) V6.0 Instrument Flight Software to the spacecraft today.
On Thursday, CDS will perform a query to verify final conditions for this procedure. Flight software checkout will occur later in July.
A meeting was held today with Project staff personnel and people from the Planetary Protection Office at NASA HQ to review the status of planetary protection compliance for Cassini. At issue is the matter of the level of risk of the spacecraft unintentionally impacting one of the moons of Saturn in the course of conducting the tour, and specifically Enceladus and Titan, the two moons of most biological interest. The consensus at the conclusion of the meeting was that Cassini is in compliance, and that further reviews will be scheduled as events warrant.
Thursday, July 8 (DOY 189)
A kickoff meeting was held today for the S65 Sequence Implementation Process. Port 1 for the first set of input files from the teams occurs July 23.
A new class of moons in the rings of Saturn has been identified that create distinctive propeller-shaped gaps in ring material. This marks the first time scientists have been able to track the orbits of individual objects in a debris disk. Observing the motions of these disk-embedded objects provides a rare opportunity to gauge how the planets grew from, and interacted with, the disk of material surrounding the early sun. To view the full feature, movie, and images link to:
Friday, July 9 (DOY 190)
Radio Science and Science Planning have concurred that the "on the shelf" Live Movable Block (LMB) for DOY 205 is good to go with no updating. As a result the LMB update process scheduled to begin next week has been cancelled and the "c" version of the mini-sequence, released during sequence development for S61, will be approved and uplinked to the spacecraft.
Saturday, July 10 (DOY 191)
Orbit Trim Maneuver (OTM) #257 was performed today. This was the cleanup maneuver after the Titan 71 flyby. The main engine burn began at 1:14 AM PDT. Telemetry immediately after the maneuver showed a burn duration of 4.829 seconds, giving a delta-V of 0.825 m/s. All subsystems reported nominal performance after the maneuver.
Monday, July 12 (DOY 193)
On DOY 193, a Solid State Power Switch (SSPS) trip occurred, the 31st such trip since launch. This switch controls the Fields and Particles pallet heater. The heater was not on at the time, and system fault protection cleared the tripped state. In the next week commands will be sent to reset the SSPS trip counter.
On July 12, master teachers participating in an astrobiology workshop at the NASA Ames Research Center were given advance notice of the Fall 2010 edition of the Cassini Scientist for a Day Essay Contest. Educators from 19 States and Puerto Rico attended.
An image of Rhea, Janus and the rings was Astronomy Picture of the Day today. Check it out at: http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap100712.html
Tuesday, July 13 (DOY 194)
This week the Optical Remote Sensing instruments performed Titan cloud monitoring, and the Magnetospheric and Plasma Science instruments were occupied with a magnetospheric boundaries campaign. The Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph (UVIS) performed extreme and far ultraviolet slow scans across the visible hemisphere of Saturn, and CIRS took data for a Saturn mid-infrared map, which will help determine upper troposphere and tropopause temperature of Saturn with spatial resolution of about two degrees of latitude and longitude. The Magnetometer performed an instrument calibration by rolling about an axis other than Z for determination of sensor offsets.
ISS and the Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) spent time building a Saturn wind speed template by staring and shooting every 10 minutes to create a mosaic in longitude. CIRS measured oxygen compounds in Saturn¹s stratosphere as a function of latitude with VIMS riding along.