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Titan Flyby - 7 September 2006

Titan Flyby - 7 September 2006

7 September 2006

Nearly 47 days after Titan-16, Cassini returns to Titan for its eighteenth targeted encounter. The closest approach to Titan occurs on Saturday, 7 September, at 20:16 UT at an altitude of 1000 kilometers above the surface and at a speed of 6.0 kilometers per second. The latitude at closest approach is 23° N (near the equator), and the encounter occurs on orbit number 28.

This encounter is set up with two manoeuvres: an apoapsis manoeuvre on 1 August, and an approach manoeuvre, on 4 September. This inbound encounter occurs about 2 days before Saturn closest approach.

Science Activities

  • Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS)
    A stellar occultation will allow to obtain a detailed profile of Titan's thermosphere
  • Composite Infrared Spectrometer (CIRS)
    The CIRS observations emphasize the far-infrared part of the spectrum to map Titan's composition. CIRS will perform limb sounding with excellent vertical resolution. CIRS will also map surface temperatures
  • Imaging Science Subsystem (ISS)
    The ISS outbound observations will image the surface of Titan and attempt to track atmospheric changes
  • Ion and Neutral Mass Spectrometer (INMS)
    INMS is riding along near closest approach (secondary pointing is NEG_X to RAM). They will determine the atmospheric and ionospheric thermal structure as well as atmospheric density for the T17 latitude of 23° North. This is important for atmospheric modelling and will be used to plan for the T20 flyby (October 2006)
  • Magnetospheric and Plasma Science (MAPS)
    MAPS will perform analysis of plasma wake, ions escaping from Titan, and Titan's interaction with Saturn's magnetosphere down to a low altitude (1000 km)

Table of Events

19 August 2006

Time UTC Time wrt
Titan-17
Activity
22:06:00 -18d 22h Start of Sequence S23 which contains Titan-17.

4 September 2006

Time UTC Time wrt
Titan-17
Activity
12:21:00 -03d 08h OTM #70 Prime Titan-17 minus 3 day targeting manoeuvre

5 September 2006

Time UTC Time wrt
Titan-17
Activity
12:06:00 -02d 08h OTM #70 Backup

6 September 2006

Time UTC Time wrt
Titan-17
Activity
21:06:00 -23h 10m Start of the TOST Segment
21:36:00 -22h 40m Turn cameras to Titan
21:36:00 -22h 40m Deadtime, 20 minutes long; used to accommodate changes in flyby time
21:56:51 -22h 20m Titan atmospheric observations to obtain information on the thermal structure of Titan's stratosphere

7 September 2006

Time UTC Time wrt
Titan-17
Activity
05:16:51 -15h 00m Titan limb observations, search Titans nightside for atmospheric lightning and auras
12:46:51 -07h 30m Titan surface observations, several slow scans across Titan's visible hemisphere to form spectral images
17:31:51 -02h 45m Transition to thrusters, needed to compensate for Titan atmosphere torque and target motion compensation
20:01:51 -00h 15m Titan stellar occultation
20:08:51 -00h 08m Titan atmospheric observations, determine atmospheric and ionospheric thermal structure
20:16:51 +00h 00m Titan-17 flyby closest approach time.
Altitude = 1000 km, speed = 6.0 kms-1; high phase inbound, 45° phase at closest approach, low phase outbound
20:35:59 +00h 19m Transition to reaction wheels. These are used for greater spacecraft stability
20:57:08 +00h 41m Titan surface observations, several slow scans across Titan's visible hemisphere to form spectral images
21:22:00 +01h 06m Descending ring plane crossing

8 September 2006

Time UTC Time wrt
Titan-17
Activity
06:16:51 +10h 00m Titan surface observations, full disk observations for surface and atmospheric mapping
09:54:51 +13h 38m Deadtime, 10 minutes long; used to accommodate changes in flyby time
10:06:00 +13h 50m Turn to Earth-line
10:36:00 +14h 20m Begin playback of T17 data Goldstone 70m
21:06:00 +01d 01h End playback of T17 data

9 September 2006

Time UTC Time wrt
Titan-17
Activity
17:42:00 +01d 21h Saturn periapse, R=3.0 Rs, latitude = -12°, phase = 7°

Observation Results

Cassini Instrument: Cassini Radar (RADAR) and Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS)

Date:   12 December 2006

Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Image Notes: This composite radar and VIMS view, holds the strongest indication yet of cryovolcanism on Titan: a possible flow of material out from a small crater

Cassini Instrument: Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR)

Date: 7 February 2007

Credit: NASA/JPL

Image Notes: The entire strip obtained by the Cassini radar during this flyby, from which the below two scenes are taken. 

Date: 12 September 2006

Credit: NASA/JPL

Image Notes: This image shows one of the few known impact craters on Titan. The crater has a diameter of ~30 km. Image is centred at 70° W, 10° N.

Date: 12 September 2006

Credit: NASA/JPL

Image Notes: Dark long ridges are seen mostly in Titan's equatorial region and are thought to be longitudinal dunes. The image is centred at 44° W, 8° N.

Last Update: 1 September 2019
21-Sep-2021 19:53 UT

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