Cassini is orbiting Saturn with a 35.8-day period in a plane inclined 40.7 degrees from the planet's equatorial plane. The most recent spacecraft tracking and telemetry data were obtained on April 23 using one of the 34-meter diameter Deep Space Network stations at Goldstone, California. Except for the 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 "Eyes on the Solar System."
The S83 command sequence controlled Cassini in flight this week, while Sequence Implementation Process teams continued their efforts on the 10-week command sequences S84, S85, and S86. The Navigation team continued to work on Cassini's orbital path and upcoming opportunities for Orbit Trim Maneuvers, and planning proceeded for the 2016 start of the F-ring and Proximal Orbits phase.
Wednesday, April 16 (DOY 106)
The Imaging Science Subsystem (ISS) completed a 36-hour observation of the irregular moon Fornjot. The small object, named after a giant in Norse mythology, is in a retrograde orbit over 25 million kilometers from Saturn. At its conclusion, ISS, the Composite Infrared Spectrometer (CIRS) and the Visible and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) made a 1.5-hour Titan monitoring observation from a distance of 1.7 million kilometers. The spacecraft then turned so that the Cosmic Dust Analyzer (CDA) could begin a 35-hour measurement of dust that orbits Saturn in the retrograde direction.
Thursday, April 17 (DOY 107)
On six occasions this week, the Deep Space Network provided two-way digital communications and radiometric tracking of Cassini using 34- and 70-meter diameter stations at Goldstone, California.
Friday, April 18 (DOY 108)
ISS, CIRS and VIMS performed another 1.5-hour Titan monitoring observation; the distance had increased to 1.9 million kilometers. ISS then made a 40-minute observation in the satellite orbit campaign, looking at (and for) small objects near Saturn. Next, CIRS trained its boresight on Saturn’s atmosphere for 12 hours to map the planet in the mid-infrared. This observation was repeated on Sunday, though it lasted an hour longer than today's.
Saturday, April 19 (DOY 109)
ISS took control of the spacecraft's pointing for 22.3 hours to study the small irregular moon Kiviuq, a dark object in a highly inclined orbit about 11.1 million kilometers out. Kiviuq was named after a hero in Inuit mythology.
Sunday, April 20 (DOY 110)
CIRS performed a 13-hour observation of Saturn’s atmosphere in an effort to determine the upper troposphere and tropopause temperatures.
Monday, April 21 (DOY 111)
Leading the other Magnetospheric and Plasma Science instruments, the Magnetospheric Imaging Instrument (MIMI) used its Ion and Neutral Camera (INCA) to make a 13-hour observation of Saturn's northern polar region as part of an auroral study campaign. The same observation was repeated on the following two days.
The 28-kilometer diameter moon Pan can be seen orbiting Saturn within the Enke Gap in the A ring in an image featured today, which also shows off some of that ring's structure. http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/photos/imagedetails/index.cfm?imageId=5010
Tuesday, April 22 (DOY 112)
More than 2,000 ideas have come in as part of the contest to name Cassini's final mission segment. More ideas are still welcome: