Wake-up call for Huygens Probe tonight
14 September 1999ESA's Huygens probe will be woken from its seven-year sleep shortlyafter midnight tonight for a routine checkout. For the first time sincethe initial checkout just eight days after launch, Huygens flightcontrollers at ESA's control centre in Darmstadt will be able to followthe event in real time. The checkout begins at 01:00 Universal Time 15September.
This is the fourth of a series of scheduled checkouts of the Probe during the voyage to Titan, aboard the Cassini orbiter. But this time ESOC will be able to receive data from Huygens in real-time via NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). This is because of the current alignment of Cassini/Huygens relative to the Sun and the Earth, which allows Cassini's High-Gain Antenna (HGA) to send data back to Earth at very high data rates, while continuing to shield the spacecraft and the Probe from the Sun.