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The last orbit: planning Cassini's plummet into Saturn

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dc.contributor.author Bittner, Molly E.
dc.contributor.author Heventhal III, William M.
dc.contributor.author Sturm II, Erick J.
dc.contributor.author Webster, Julie
dc.date.accessioned 2019-05-14T19:54:09Z
dc.date.available 2019-05-14T19:54:09Z
dc.date.issued 2016-05-16
dc.identifier.citation SpaceOps 2016 Conference, Daejeon, Korea, May 16-20, 2016 en_US
dc.identifier.clearanceno 16-1383
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2014/46081
dc.description.abstract Cassini’s final orbit around Saturn will culminate in a dramatic ending as the spacecraft plunges into the ringed planet’s atmosphere, never to escape or be heard from again. The last hours of the mission prior to the final loss of signal have some of the most unique and valuable science to date. Cassini will take a unique trajectory to dive deep into the atmosphere on its approach to final disposal and no spacecraft, Cassini included, has entered these depths of Saturn’s atmosphere. The science community has placed heavy emphasis on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to inspect these deeper regions of Saturn’s atmosphere. The Cassini project specifically aims to collect the very last bits of data during the final plunge to get samples of the deepest regions before the spacecraft is lost forever. The desire to collect the final bits of data presents several challenges. Cassini’s Mission Planning (MP) team has developed an End of Mission (EOM) scenario to tackle these demands. The EOM scenario outlines the framework for the entire last orbit of the mission and details the strategy for data collection and transmission. Attaining near real-time transmission is key for the acquisition of the very last bits of data. The Cassini spacecraft will use a new mode of operations to successfully achieve this real-time transmission. In addition to this primary investigation and planning for telecommunications, key risks have been studied within the realm of the last orbit. Ultimately, this paper shows how the Cassini Project plans to ensure the return of every last bit of data before the spacecraft is consumed by Saturn forever. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship NASA/JPL en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.publisher Pasadena, CA: Jet Propulsion Laboratory, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 2016 en_US
dc.title The last orbit: planning Cassini's plummet into Saturn en_US
dc.type Preprint en_US


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