Cassini Status Update (Launch +1)

Oct. 16, 1997

11:30 a.m. PDT

Following its spectacular launch into the moonlit sky above Cape Canaveral, FL, at 4:43 a.m. EDT (1:43 a.m. PDT) on Oct. 15, the Cassini spacecraft continues to operate nominally. "The spacecraft is extremely clean and mission operations are proceeding in an excellent manner," said Cassini deputy program manager Ronald Draper.

At one day and nine hours following launch, Cassini is traveling at a velocity of about 4.2 kilometers per second (about 9,223 miles per hour) relative to Earth. Engineers are beginning to look at data from when the Centaur separated from Cassini to correlate after-the-fact information on spacecraft systems with predicted performance. Telemetry recorded on Cassini's solid state recorder will be played back later this week. Extra commands to shut off two commandable heaters (out of 50) for the star camera were added. Radio plasma wave antennas will be deployed in ten days. Updates for engineering software are scheduled for today and tomorrow.

There are no anomalies with the spacecraft, according to Cassini mission director Chris Jones. "I can't recall a launch as perfect as this one," he said, adding that "everything we see is within predictions, with no failures."

Additional information about Cassini-Huygens is online at

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.

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