Cassini Update - March 31, 2006

Cassini Significant Events
for 03/23/06 - 03/29/06

The most recent spacecraft telemetry was acquired Wednesday, March 29,
the Goldstone tracking stations. The Cassini spacecraft is in an
state of health and is operating normally. Information on the present
position and speed of the Cassini spacecraft may be found on the
Position” web page located at .

Thursday, March 23 (DOY 082)

Science observations this week included the Composite Infrared
(CIRS) obtaining temperature maps of Saturn’s northern hemisphere, a
continuation of the Cassini Plasma Spectrometer search for Saturnian
stream particles, Ion and Neutral Mass Spectrometer scans for dense
regions and icy satellite high phase observations, an Imaging Science
Subsystem (ISS) Iapetus observation campaign that images the dark
hemisphere and south polar area, and a Magnetospheric and Plasma
(MAPS) distant magnetotail campaign. This is the first of such
campaigns in
the mission. The region between 25 and 68 Rs is being investigating at
phase angles of 162-130 degrees.

Saturday, March 25 (DOY 084):

In the Village Kohivav, Vadodara district of Gujarat, India, 70
students and
15 Saturn Observation club members observed Saturn and made sketches of
ringed planet.

Monday, March 27 (DOY 086):

Both the kickoff, and as it turns out, the go/no go meeting for the
Live Inertial Vector Propagator Update occurred today. While the update
not necessary for ISS, the CIRS observations would have been clipped
it. Commands for this activity will be approved and uplinked to the
spacecraft on Friday.

The Science Operations Plan Update process for S22 kicked off today.
process will run for five weeks and will conclude on April 28.

Tuesday, March 28 (DOY 087):

The Uplink Readiness Review for ACS flight software (FSW) version
A8.7.4 was
held today. The Software Requirements and Certification Review is set
March 31, with uplink planned to occur on April 10 - 13, along with the
Monopropellant Tank Assembly recharge activity. ACS will upload the
patch to bring the default thruster magnitudes in line with the
values. The B branch will be updated before the recharge, and the A
redundantly B branches will be updated afterwards.

The Spacecraft Operations Office Manager presented “The Cassini
Tutorial” at the Cassini-Huygens Analysis and Results of the Mission
teleconference today.

Wednesday, March 29 (DOY 088):

A Delivery Coordination Meeting was held for Multi Mission Image
Laboratory (MIPL) Cassini version D35.0.2 software, and Cassini
Management System (CIMS) version 3.3 software. For the MIPL software,
results for upgrades for both uplink and downlink modifications were
presented. The changes were approved to go operational and will be
used for
uplink for S21, and on April 17 for downlink. The CIMS software was
approved and was installed for operational use right after the meeting.

A new release has been posted to the Cassini public website on the
of moonlet evidence in the rings of Saturn. There may be as many as 10
million of these objects within one of Saturn’s rings alone. The
existence could help answer the question of whether Saturn’s rings were
formed through the break-up of a larger body or are the remnants of the
of material from which Saturn and its moons formed. For more
information go

Wrap up:

Check out the Cassini web site at for the
press releases and images.

Upcoming Events:

Free public star parties at Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, CA,
held monthly with the assistance of the Los Angeles Astronomical
Society and
the Los Angeles Sidewalk Astronomers at the Griffith Observatory
in the northeast corner of Griffith Park from 2:00 p.m. to 10 p.m. They
provide a chance for the whole family to look at the sun, moon, visible
planets, including Saturn right now, and other objects, to try out a
of telescopes, and to talk to knowledgeable amateur astronomers about
sky and their equipment. Future dates when Saturn will be visible are
1, May 6, and June 3.

Do you want to know where Saturn viewing might be happening in your
We have over 350 members of the Saturn Observation Campaign in 45
states and
49 countries around the world. Contact one of the SOC members in your
to ask when and where you can see Saturn.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the
Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion
Laboratory, a
division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages
Cassini-Huygens mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate,
D.C. JPL designed, developed and assembled the Cassini orbiter.