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Fwd = Cassini mission status

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  • Frits Westra
    Forwarded by: fwestra@hetnet.nl Originally from: JPLNews@jpl.nasa.gov Original Subject: Cassini mission status Original Date: Thu, 4 Jan 2001 11:21:06
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 4, 2001
      Forwarded by: fwestra@...
      Originally from: JPLNews@...
      Original Subject: Cassini mission status
      Original Date: Thu, 4 Jan 2001 11:21:06 -0800 (PST)

      ========================== Forwarded message begins ======================

      PASADENA, CALIF. 91109. TELEPHONE (818) 354-5011

      January 4, 2001

      NASA's Cassini spacecraft has continued collecting new
      scientific information from Jupiter's environs every day since
      making its closest approach to the giant planet on Dec. 30, 2000,
      and is scheduled to keep studying the Jupiter system for another
      three months while proceeding on toward Saturn.

      "The flyby went smoothly, and the spacecraft is operating
      flawlessly again," said Bob Mitchell, Cassini program manager at
      NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

      This week's targets of observation by Cassini begin with
      Jupiter's atmosphere and rings. Between Jan. 5 and Jan. 12, the
      moons Io, Europa and Ganymede will each be examined while in
      eclipse for information that their faint airglows can reveal
      about those moons' tenuous atmospheres. Today (Thursday), Cassini
      is measuring natural radio emissions from Jupiter's radiation
      belts, a research project that will also draw upon results from
      Earth-based radio telescope observations by students in 25 middle
      schools and high schools in 13 states. (For information on the
      student project, see
      http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/releases/2000/gavrtjupiter.html .

      The flyby of Jupiter, at a distance of about 9.7 million
      kilometers (6 million miles), gave Cassini a boost from Jupiter's
      gravity that accelerated the spacecraft by about 2 kilometers per
      second (about 4,500 miles per hour) and will enable it to reach
      its ultimate destination, Saturn, in July 2004.

      A higher-than-normal drag that was detected on one of
      Cassini's reaction wheels more than two weeks ago has not
      reappeared. The reaction wheels are used to rotate the spacecraft
      in different directions, and the problem led to suspension from
      Dec. 19 to Dec. 28 of scientific observations that would have
      required pointing the spacecraft, such as for taking pictures.

      "That problem appears to be behind us, except that we have
      an extra workload to prevent recurrence of the conditions we
      think caused it," Mitchell said. Mission engineers believe that
      the excessive friction at one reaction wheel resulted from
      lessened lubrication after prolonged operation at relatively low
      speed. Operating the wheel at higher speeds apparently restored
      proper dispersal of the lubricant. The Cassini flight team is
      developing procedures for avoiding prolonged operation of the
      reaction wheels at relatively low speeds.

      Cassini is a cooperative mission of NASA, the European Space
      Agency and the Italian Space Agency. JPL, a division of the
      California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages Cassini
      for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. Additional
      information about Cassini is available online at
      http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/cassini .

      01/04/01 GW

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