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Cassini Significant Events 09/23/09 – 09/29/09

The most recent spacecraft telemetry was acquired on Sept. 29 from the Deep Space Network tracking complex at Goldstone, California. The Cassini spacecraft is in an excellent state of health and all subsystems are operating normally. Information on the present position and speed of the Cassini spacecraft may be found on the "Present Position" page at: http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/operations/present-position.cfm

Wednesday, Sept. 23 (DOY 266):

Port 1 files for the S58 Science Operations Plan process were received from all participating teams today. The files were merged and the results sent out for review on Sept. 24.

A Simulation Procedure Review meeting was held today as part of the sequence development process for S55. Radio Science (RSS) had asked that the occultation experiments planned for DOY 324 and 344 go through the simulation process. Testing began on Friday the 25th and completed on Monday, Sept. 28.

Thursday, Sept. 24 (DOY 267):

The Rings Equinox science segment concluded today and a Magnetospheric Working Group segment began. This segment is dedicated to Magnetospheric and Plasma Science (MAPS) science, with favorable Cassini Plasma Spectrometer (CAPS) pointing nearly throughout from Sept. 24 through Oct. 8. Other than an ISS Iapetus observation on DOY 267/268, the rest of the segment will be mostly CAPS prime pointing, with a few other observations in which the secondary axis still allows CAPS to gather data.

Friday, September 25 (DOY 268):

Today ISS performed two observations meant to track some of Saturn's smaller satellites and mapped out the lit face of the rings through eight different filters to determine how the rings' "color" varies. Such observations can reveal information about the composition of the rings, as well as how the ring system evolves over time and recycles the material within them. Next the dedicated MAPS campaign began. CAPS performed an observation designed to allow the MAPS instruments to study Saturn¹s magnetospheric boundary with the solar wind, and the Magnetospheric Imaging experiment/ Ion and Neutral Camera (MIMI/INCA) and Radio and Plasma Wave Science (RPWS) performed studies of the response of Saturn's magnetosphere.

Tuesday, Sept. 29 (DOY 272)

Although S53 is still executing, a kick off meeting was held today for the first ­ and only ­ live update in S54. The update is planned to execute on DOY 286 with Rhea, Tethys, Mimas, and Enceladus as the targets. The Go/No Go meeting for this update is scheduled for this Friday.

Port 3 files for the S56 Science Operations Plan process were received from all participating teams today.

Beginning yesterday and finishing up today, Uplink Operations sent Instrument Expanded Block files necessary for execution of the S54 background sequence to the spacecraft. There were twelve files sent for the Composite Infrared Spectrometer, ISS, Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer, Optical Navigation, UVIS, Ion and Neutral Mass Spectrometer, and CAPS.

And on Wednesday:
A beautiful image of the rings of Saturn taken during the recent equinox crossing was Astronomy Picture of the Day. Check it out at: