Cassini is orbiting Saturn with a 31.9-day period in a plane inclined 51.9 degrees from the planet's equatorial plane. The most recent spacecraft tracking and telemetry data were obtained on Oct. 9 using the 70-meter diameter Deep Space Network station at Canberra, Australia. Except for some science instrument issues described in previous reports (for more information search the Cassini website for CAPS and USO), the spacecraft continues to be in an excellent state of health with all of its subsystems operating normally. Information on the present position of the Cassini spacecraft may be found on the "Present Position" page at: http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/mission/presentposition/.
The S80 on-board sequence issued the commands controlling Cassini this week. Meanwhile, work proceeded at JPL on the ten-week command sequences S81, S82, and S83. Planning continued for the2016 start of the F-ring and Proximal Orbits phase, which will end with the spacecraft's demise as it makes its fatal plunge into Saturn's atmosphere in Sept. 2017.
Wednesday, Oct. 2 (DOY 275)
This year's study of Saturn's magnetosphere continued as the Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph (UVIS) completed a 37-hour mosaic scan of the magnetic envelope.
Thursday, Oct. 3 (DOY 276)
UVIS began another 37-hour magnetosphere scan.
Friday, Oct. 4 (DOY 277)
This week, Deep Space Network stations in California and Australia carried out digital communications and radiometric tracking with Cassini on five occasions, averaging about 400 minutes each. The 70-meter and 34-meter diameter apertures were used; four of these sessions were two-way (uplink and downlink), and one was downlink-only, as planned. Radio communications at the speed of light take about an hour and a half each way, which is near maximum now as Earth's orbit takes us around the other side of the Sun from Saturn.
Saturday, Oct. 5 (DOY 278)
The Imaging Science Subsystem (ISS), the Composite Infrared Spectrometer (CIRS) and the Visible and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) carried out an observation in the Titan monitoring campaign from a distance of 1.7 million kilometers, before UVIS started a 29-hour magnetosphere scan.
Sunday, Oct. 6 (DOY 279)
UVIS is not the only one of Cassini's instruments capable of observing Saturn's complicated magnetic field and its contents, which are not visible to the human senses. A look back at the movie released in 2010 illustrates results seen by the Magnetospheric Imaging Instrument's Ion and Neutral Camera:
Monday, Oct. 7 (DOY 280)
ISS, CIRS and VIMS made another Titan monitoring campaign observation as the distance decreased slightly. UVIS then wrapped up its yearly magnetosphere campaign with a 12-hour scan.
Tuesday Oct. 8 (DOY 281)
ISS executed an observation in the satellite orbit campaign, looking at small objects near Saturn. VIMS then spent 9.5 hours creating a mosaic of the dark side of the rings, while ISS, UVIS, and CIRS also took data. Next, VIMS led an observation with ISS and CIRS as the red star L2 Puppis was occulted by Saturn's rings, going behind them as viewed from the moving spacecraft. Finally, VIMS took a quick "storm-watch" observation of Saturn.