Cassini Significant Events 01/06/05 - 01/12/05

January 12, 2005

(Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory)


A Journey to Titan: The Diary Continues (Part III)

This week's report is shorter than the ones for the last two weeks. The spacecraft is configured, quiet, and awaiting next week's events!

Thursday, January 6:

Today we configured the orbiter science instruments, ACS, and CDS for Probe Relay. The spacecraft (S/C) is nearly in its final configuration. We have rechecked each subsystem to make sure that all are in the state we had planned for them to be in. 

All S/C subsystems are nominal. 

Cassini managers for Probe and Mission Planning participated in a Huygens art contest sponsored by the Planetary Society. Over 450 entries were submitted and prizewinners were chosen for both youth and adult categories. The quality of the artwork was extremely impressive. The grand prizewinner was a 15-year-old from North Carolina. She and a parent were flown to the European Space Agency Space Operations Center in Darmstadt, Germany to watch the Huygens descent activities live. The contest results and winners can be found at: http://planetary.org/news/2005/titan_art_0106.html


Friday, January 7:

The S07 background sequence BGA completed, and the Probe Relay critical sequence began counting down today. Following that, early this morning we configured the system fault protection ACSEM Algorithm. That's the last commanding prior to relay.

BGB is loaded and waiting in the wings for execution on the 14th after the Probe events.

At this point we are ready for Probe Relay. We will be monitoring the S/C daily.

On the development front, Preliminary Port #2 occurred as part of the Science Operations Plan Update Process for the S10 sequence. The team products were merged and a status report was sent to the participants.

Saturday & Sunday, January 8 & 9:

There is no activity on the S/C at this time. All sequences are clocking out for Probe Relay. All S/C subsystems are nominal. There are no unexpected red alarms.

With the orbiter instruments configured for Probe Relay and the high power margin, the S/C is getting colder. This is as expected and both Propulsion and Thermal Subsystem team members are keeping an eye on the trends.

Science Planning is participating in this week's Cassini/Huygens presentation series at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. The series, spanning the whole week, included a talk by Cassini Science Planning on Saturday the 8th for 350 people, and includes Huygens parties on the 14th and 15th of January showcasing Huygens images and science results. OMSI is also showing Ring World in their Harry C. Kendall Planetarium now.


Monday, January 10:

One of the Cosmic Dust Analyzer (CDA) telemetry channels is going in and out of red alarm. This is related to the S/C getting colder. CDA plans to ride this out until after Probe Relay when the instruments are powered back on and temperatures increase. 

FYI - Hydrazine usage since we went to thrusters has been 2.8 g/day, about as expected.


Tuesday, January 11:

All S/C subsystems are still nominal. 

We met today to discuss one of the Spacecraft Operations Office procedures to be executed on the 14th. If Deep Impact launch slips for any reason and we lose DSS 45, we will need to use different commanding than currently planned. If the launch is successful, we can shelve the contingency plan. (Note: It was Successful! Congratulations Deep Impact. Fly well!)

The Planetary Society is holding an event to recognize the Probe Relay. It occurs Thursday PM January 13th, and is open to the Public. They will be looking at the Huygens mission as well as presenting a Voyager retrospective, a lively discussion of Saturn's place in the popular imagination, a Cassini overview and a live update from Huygens mission control in Germany.

Saturn Observation Campaign members are assisting with a worldwide campaign to observe and image the 2005 opposition of Saturn beginning January 12 and continuing through the 14th. In addition to amateur astronomers, 15 telescopes at 10 observatories in the US and Europe (and the Hubble Space Telescope) will observe the opposition with CCD equipment. Professional and amateur observers will image Saturn's moons as Earth transits the disk of the sun. Observing program details are here. http://www.astro.virginia.edu/~av4n/SatOpp05.html


Wednesday, January 12:

There is no activity on the S/C at this time. All sequences are clocking out for Probe Relay.

Cassini Outreach gave a workshop on "Reading, Writing, and Rings" to a small group of San Dimas High School students considering careers in primary education. The workshop included hands-on work with the RWR lessons. Additionally, Cassini Integrated Test Lab and Program Science personnel gave Cassini presentations to 30 members of JUMP - JPL Undergraduate Mentor Program this week. They spoke on life on Cassini and what it is like to have a career at JPL.

The most recent spacecraft telemetry was acquired from the Goldstone tracking station on Wednesday, January 12. The Cassini spacecraft is in an excellent state of health and is operating normally.

As of today, January 13, the Program is hours from Probe relay!


Coming Up:

The Saturn Observation Campaign/Old Town Astronomers will be showing Saturn this weekend. Telescopes will be set up from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Colorado Blvd in Pasadena (somewhere near DeLacey, depending on parking) Friday night, and in Monrovia's Library Park on the corner of Myrtle and Lime Streets on Saturday night and probably one place or the other again on Sunday night. These events draw a big crowd with long lines in Pasadena, but the Monrovia park setting is less hectic, and nicer for extended looks. Bring the whole family for a view of Saturn and many of its moons during one of these viewing opportunities. Disclaimer: weather permitting, so the viewing will be cancelled if it's cloudy or worse.

European Space Agency press conferences will be aired on NASA Select from 8:15 to 9:15am Pacific Time and from 2:00 to 3:00pm Pacific time on Friday January 14.

Not to be eclipsed by the Huygens Probe, check out the Cassini web site http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov for the latest press releases and images of Saturn's moon Iapetus. Images show startling surface features that are fueling heated scientific discussions about their origin. One of these features is a long narrow ridge that lies almost exactly on the equator of Iapetus, bisects its entire dark hemisphere and reaches 20 km high and extends over 1300 km. No other moon in the solar system has such a striking geological feature. In places, the ridge is comprised of mountains. In height, they rival Olympus Mons on Mars, approximately three times the height of Mt. Everest, which is surprising for such a small body as Iapetus. Mars is nearly five times the size of Iapetus.