Cassini Significant Event Report

For Week Ending 12/17/99

The most recent spacecraft telemetry data was acquired from the Madrid
tracking station on Thursday, 12/16. The Cassini spacecraft is in an
excellent state of health and is operating normally. The spacecraft has
now passed the two billion km mark in distance traveled, and has just now
entered the asteroid belt. The speed of the spacecraft can be viewed on the "Where is Cassini Now?" web page (

The Cassini Design Team baselined the Jupiter Science Planning and
Sequencing Operations Concept, and the Tour Science Planning Operations
Concept. The baselining of these concepts represents a significant step
forward towards Saturn Tour Planning.

The VIMS (Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer) team published a report
with results from Instrument Checkout, and the Venus and Earth swing-bys.
Areas evaluated include Ground Uplink Processes, Instrument Hardware, and
Instrument Software. Performance has been outstanding in these areas for
these first three periods of active operations.

A special session titled "Cassini Flyby of Venus and Earth" was held on
Wednesday (December 15, 1999) at the Fall Meeting of the American
Geophysical Union in San Francisco. There were twenty-one scientific
papers presented (11 oral talks and 10 poster presentations).
Participating were CAPS, MIMI, MAG, RPWS, RADAR, UVIS as well as T. Gombosi
(Cassini Interdiciplinary Scientist). The presentations were well recieved
and the AGU discipline meeting chair is recommending that a similar session
be held at the AGU Spring Meeting in Washington, D.C.

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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