Cassini Program Status Report
April 1, 1996
Steady progress was made in the past month on the assembly of the Cassini spacecraft at JPL and of the Huygens probe in Europe, and the program office at JPL received thousands of postcards and letters from citizens around the world in response to NASA's invitation to send your signature to Saturn on a CD-ROM aboard the spacecraft.
The integration of the visible infrared mapping spectrometer (VIMS) was completed. The ultraviolet imaging spectrograph (UVIS) instrument was installed on the remote sensing platform and electrical integration was successfully completed. The engineering model for MIMI, Cassini's magnetospheric imaging instrument from the Applied Physics Lab of The Johns Hopkins University, completed integration and functional testing. The Magnetometer (MAG) instrument was also successfully integrated with the spacecraft.
The hardware requirements and certification review for the orbiter's sun sensors and their electronics was successfully completed. Design and coding of command and data subsystem flight software version 2.0 was completed and was delivered for acceptance testing.
In Europe, the Huygens probe flight model entered its integration phase. The probe's separation subsystem was electrically integrated, along with the probe support avionics. Huygens atmospheric instrument (HASI) and the probe's command and data management units were also integrated.
The propulsion module subsystem (PMS) completed a major milestone in a successful pressure-proof test of the propellant tanks and lines at Lockheed-Martin in Denver, CO. In Italy, the flight model radio frequency electronic subsystem (RFES) successfully completed flight acceptance random vibration testing.
In Cape Canaveral, FL, a full-scale mock-up of the Cassini spacecraft is now runningthrough the same kinds of transportation and launch vehicle integration activities the actual spacecraft will undergo when it is prepared for launch next year. Referred to as Trailblazer, the mock-up allows engineers and technicians to rehearse and troubleshoot pre-launch integration activities prior to the arrival of the Cassini spacecraft.
Additional information about Cassini-Huygens is online at http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov.
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.