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Titan Flyby - February 2006

Titan Flyby - February 2006

27 February 2006

Forty-three days after T10, Cassini returns to Titan for the twelfth targeted flyby of Titan on Monday, 27 February 2006 at 08:25:19 Ground UTC.Cassini's closest approach to Saturn's largest satellite is at an altitude of 1813 km above the surface at a speed of 6.0 kilometres per second.

This Titan flyby is the first of four coordinated Radio Science flybys that explore the interior of Titan; T22, T33, and T38 are the other three. The flyby occurs when Titan is near the point furthest away from Saturn in its orbit, and the spacecraft flyby is at a low inclination.

This encounter is set up with two manoeuvres: an apoapsis manoeuvre scheduled for 5 February, and a Titan approach manoeuvre, scheduled for 23 February. Titan-11 is an outbound flyby, with Saturn periapsis occurring about two before closest-approach, on 25 February. The Navigation team expects to deliver the orbiter to within 30 km of the target altitude at a confidence of 99% (three sigma).

Science Activities

  • Imaging Science Subsystem (ISS) will perform a global-scale mosaic of the sub-Saturnian hemisphere: covering the equatorial region from Fensal/Quivira/Aztlan to Aaru, and Tsegihi in the south. ISS also has a mosaic that ranges from the regional scale to high resolution and includes the southern part of Aztlan, the eastern part of Shiwanni Virgae, and Elba Facula. The closer mosaic will have pixel scales ~600-350 m.
  • Composite Infrared Spectrometer (CIRS) will obtain information on trace constituents in Titan's stratosphere. Integrate on limb at two positions POINTING: Obtain information on CO, HCN, CH4. Integrate on disk at airmass 1.5-2.0. POINTING: -y to Titan, x away from Sun.
  • Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrometer (UVIS) will perform a global spectral map to study aerosol scattering and hydrocarbon absorption and distribution. This will also be UVIS' first solar occultation. With the solar occultation UVIS can observe the extreme ultraviolet (EUV) spectrum below 110 nm and can sample opacity from nitrogen and methane and possibly some other hydrocarbons. will obtain new high-resolution images that will help understand Titan's geology and the fate of CH4.
  • Magnetometer (MAG) will take advantage of this encounter being upstream of the Titan/magnetospheric interaction. The spacecraft will fly through Titan's middle ionosphere. Together with the T8 and T6 flybys, T11 will allow MAG to reconstruct the upstream equatorial ionospheric pile-up region.
  • Magnetospheric Imaging Instrument (MIMI) will investigate micro-scale and near aspects of the Titan interaction by observing during about one hour period around an encounter. With -Y pointed toward Titan, when within 30 minutes of the targeted flyby, optimize secondary axis for co-rotation flow as close to the S/C -X, +/- Z plane as works with the other constraints on pointing. Also, measure Titan exosphere/magnetosphere interaction by imaging in ENA with INCA (when sun is not in INCA FOV).
  • Ion and Neutral Mass Spectrometer (INMS) will obtain data regarding Titan's atmospheric and ionospheric composition and thermal structure. INMS will also observe the magnetospheric/ionospheric interaction.
  • Radio and Plasma Wave Spectrometer (RPWS) will study the interaction of the magnetosphere with Titan at intermediate distances for evidence of ion pickup, radio emissions, density profiles, and the general wave environment.
  • Radio Science (RSS) will perform two Gravity Science Enhancement (GSE) passes occurring after the flyby in order to answer the question of whether Titan possesses an internal ocean. The GSE passes are crucial to de-correlate Titan's GM from the distance at closest approach.

Table of Events

27 January 2006

Time UTC Time wrt
Titan-11
Event
04:03:00 -31d 04h Start of Sequence S18 which contains Titan-11 (T11)

24 February 2006

Time UTC Time wrt
Titan-11
Event
00:26:00 -03d 08h OTM #52 Prime, T11 minus 3 days targeting manoevre
16:05:00 -02d 16h OTM #52 Backup

26 February 2006

Time UTC Time wrt
Titan-11
Event
09:06:00 -23h 19m Start of the TOST Segment
09:06:00 -23h 19m Turn cameras to Titan
09:36:00 -22h 49m Deadtime, 19 minutes long; used to accomodate changes in flyby time
09:55:19 -22h 30m Titan global map; several slow scans across Titan's visible hemisphere to form spectral images

27 February 2006

Time UTC Time wrt
Titan-11
Event
01:25:19 -07h 00m Turn to Earth-line
01:55:19 -06h 30m RSS gravity pass; this is an inbound RSS Titan gravity pass
01:55:19 -06h 30m Begin playback of T11 data, Goldstone 34M
03:55:19 -04h 30m End playback of T11 data
03:55:19 -04h 30m Turn cameras to Titan
04:25:19 -04h 00m Titan surface observations; examine Titan's specular point
06:55:19 -01h 30m Turn to Earth-line
07:25:19 -01h 00m RSS gravity pass; this is an inbound RSS Titan gravity pass
07:25:19 -01h 00m Begin playback of T11 data, Goldstone 34M
08:25:19 +00h 00m T11 flyby closest approach time, altitude = 1813 km, speed = 5.9 kms-1, low phase inbound, 92° phase at closest approach, high phase outbound
12:55:19 +04h 30m End playback of T11 data
12:55:19 +04h 30m Turn cameras to Titan
13:25:19 +05h 00m Titan surface observations, several slow scans across Titan's visible hemisphere to form spectral images
16:55:19 +08h 30m Titan atmospheric observations, examine trace constituents in Titan's stratosphere
21:35:19 +13h 10m Deadtime, 15 minutes long; used to accomodate changes in flyby time
21:51:00 +13h 26m Turn to Earth-line
22:21:00 +13h 56m Begin playback of T11 data, Goldstone 70M

28 February 2006

Time UTC Time wrt
Titan-11
Event
08:51:00 +01d 00h End playback of T11 data

9 March 2006

Time UTC Time wrt
Titan-11
Event
03:34:31 +09d 19h Saturn apoapse; period=23.3 d, inclination=0.4°, r=48.4 RSaturn, phase=122°

Last Update: 1 September 2019
21-Sep-2021 19:22 UT

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