SETI bioastro: Fw: Cassini Update - December 19, 2003

Date: Fri Dec 19 2003 - 18:49:54 PST

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    ----- Original Message -----
    From: Cassini Project
    Sent: Friday, December 19, 2003 8:11 PM
    Subject: Cassini Update - December 19, 2003

    Cassini Significant Events
    for 12/11/03 - 12/17/03

    The most recent spacecraft telemetry was acquired from the Madrid
    tracking station on Monday, December 15. The Cassini spacecraft is in an
    excellent state of health and is operating normally. Information on the
    present position and speed of the Cassini spacecraft may be found on
    the "Present Position" web page located at .

    On-board activities this week included execution of Probe pre-heating
    checkout test #2, a Composite Infrared Spectrometer flight software
    checkout, execution of the Ion and Neutral Mass Spectrometer recovery
    mini-sequence, and a spacecraft Periodic Engineering Maintenance

    Preliminary port one and official port one deliveries were made as part
    of the Science Operations Plan implementation process for tour sequences
    S19 and S20. In addition, preliminary port 1 was delivered for
    sequences S21 and S22.

    The first aftermarket process decision meeting was held as part of the
    development process for tour sequence S01.

    The Preliminary Sequence Integration and Validation (PSIV) 2 integrated
    sequence with Inertial Vector Propagator commands merged in has been
    delivered for cruise sequence C42. The final approval meeting will be
    held the first week of January. The PSIV1 Seqgen products for C43 were
    also released for review along with a sequence of events listing and the
    space flight operations schedule.

    The international astronomical community and Cassini investigation teams
    will begin a program of cooperative, synergistic, ground based
    observations of the Saturnian system. The program is planned as a
    series of regular monitoring observations of Saturn beginning in 2004
    from ground based observatories. In addition 17 orbits of Hubble Space
    Telescope observation time have been obtained. The objective of this
    program is to acquire a maximum amount of information about the state of
    Saturn's atmosphere, which could be obtained by imaging and spectroscopy
    at different wavelengths.

    All teams and offices supported the Cassini Monthly Management review.
    Delivery coordination meetings were held for the Instrument Operations
    Remote Terminal Interface Unit /SEQTRAN V1.0 utility, and Cassini
    Information Management System 3.0 (CIMS). The CIMS delivery provides
    several functions in support of the Science Planning processes, the most
    prominent of which is the Spacecraft Activity Sequence File / Science
    Planning Attitude Spread Sheet comparison. This comparison typically
    takes about eight hours to perform manually. CIMS 3.0 now does the
    comparison in less than a minute.

    On December 8, it was reported in a Southwest Research Institute News
    Release that the Cassini Plasma Spectrometer (CAPS) has made the first
    in situ observations of interstellar pickup ions beyond the orbit of
    Jupiter. This is the first major discovery using data gathered by CAPS.
    For more information go to:

    Saturn will have its closet approach to Earth for the next 29 years on
    December 31, 2003. At that time the planet will be about 1.2 billion
    kilometers away with the rings tipped towards Earth. Reflected sunlight
    will cause the planet to appear brighter than usual. For more
    information go to:

    Cassini is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and
    the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of
    the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif., manages the
    Cassini mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C.

    Cassini Outreach
    Cassini Mission to Saturn and Titan
    Jet Propulsion Laboratory
    California Institute of Technology
    National Aeronautics and Space Administration

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