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Titan Flyby - 26 April 2007

Titan Flyby - 26 April 2007

23 April 2007

Sixteen days after Cassini's Titan-28 flyby, the spacecraft revisits Titan for its thirtieth targeted encounter. The closest approach to Titan occurs on Thursday, 26 April, at 21:32:58 UT, at an altitude of 980 kilometres above the surface and at a speed of 6.2 kilometres per second. The latitude at closest approach is 59.7° N and the encounter occurs on orbit number 43.

This encounter is set up with two manoeuvres: an apoapsis manoeuvre on 18 April, and a Titan approach manoeuvre, scheduled for 23 April. This is the fifth in a series of outbound Titan encounters (first: T25, 22 February 2007; last: T33, 29 June 2007). The flyby occurs about two days after Saturn closest approach.

Science Highlights

  • Cassini Radar (RADAR)
    RADAR will perform observations of high latitude dark terrain. The team is particularly interested in learning how topography is guiding the wind, and identifying the orientation of the dunes. The inbound T29 RADAR observations will include mid latitude scatterometry of unique terrain coverage of Titan, altimetry, and low resolution SAR imaging. During the actual closest approach flyby, RADAR will conduct high resolution SAR imaging, filling in some of the white "gap" in RADAR observations of the lake region. The outbound leg observations will include low resolution SAR imaging, altimetry, and mid latitude scatterometry and radiometry of unique terrain coverage of Titan
  • Composite Infrared Spectrometer (CIRS)
    CIRS will obtain a surface temperature map of a region in Titan's southern hemisphere, and will do limb mapping for hydrocarbons. Observations will yield information on surface & tropopause temperatures, and on the prevalence of tropospheric CH4. On the outbound leg of the encounter, CIRS will be looking for information on the thermal structure of Titan's stratosphere
  • Imaging Science Subsystem (ISS)
    ISS will obtain a global map with resolution of 1 km per pixel, and will perform monitoring of the disk at 1.5 km per pixel at low solar phase angles. As in the previous Titan encounter, the ISS team will be monitoring for changes in the surface and atmosphere. Scientists will attempt to see if there are any surface colour variations, and will monitor limb hazes at a resolution of 1-3 km per pixel
  • Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS)
    VIMS will obtain phase angle coverage of the northern hemisphere

Table of Events

28 March 2007

Time UTC Time wrt
Titan-29
Activity
08:04:00 -29d 13h Start of sequence S29 which contains Titan-29

23 April 2007

Time UTC Time wrt
Titan-29
Activity
21:16:00 -03d 00h OTM #106 Prime. Titan-29 targeting manoeuvre

24 April 2007

Time UTC Time wrt
Titan-29
Activity
13:53:40 -02d 08h Descending ring plane crossing
20:02:44 -02d 02h Saturn periapse. R = 5.7 RS, latitude = -32°, phase = 107°
21:01:00 -02d 01h OTM #106 backup

26 April 2007

Time UTC Time wrt
Titan-29
Activity
06:01:00 -15h 31m Start of the TOST segment
06:01:00 -15h 31m Turn cameras to Titan
06:31:00 -15h 01m Deadtime, 15 minutes 58 seconds long. Used to accommodate changes in flyby time
06:46:58 -14h 46m Titan atmospheric observations. Mid-IR temperature map
11:32:58 -10h 00m ISS Imaging. Photometry
12:32:58 -09h 00m Titan atmospheric observations. VIMS regional cloud map
16:32:58 -05h 00m Titan surface and atmospheric observations. Obtain information on surface & tropopause temperatures, and on tropospheric CH4
19:42:58 -01h 50m New waypoint
19:42:58 -01h 50m RADAR observations. Mid latitude scatterometry of unique terrain coverage of Titan
20:40:58 -00h 52m Transition to thruster control
21:02:58 -00h 30m RADAR observations. Altimetry measurements on the inbound leg of the T29 flyby
21:10:40 -00h 22m Solar Occultation. 22 minute duration
21:12:14 -00h 20m Earth Occultation. 21 minute duration
21:16:58 -00h 16m RADAR observations. Low resolution SAR imaging on the inbound leg of T29
21:25:58 -00h 07m RADAR observations. High resolution SAR imaging during the T29 closest approach period
21:32:58 +00h 00m Titan-29 flyby closest approach time.
Altitude = 980 km, speed = 6.2 kms-1, 130° phase at closest approach
21:35:04 +00h 03m Ascending ring plane crossing
21:39:58 +00h 07m RADAR observations. Low resolution SAR imaging on the outbound leg of T29
21:48:58 +00h 16m RADAR observations. Altimetry
22:02:58 +00h 30m Transition off of thruster control
22:24:39 +00h 52m RADAR observations. Mid latitude scatterometry
22:49:58 +01h 17m RADAR observations. Radiometry observations

27 April 2007

Time UTC Time wrt
Titan-29
Activity
02:23:00 +04h 51m New waypoint
02:42:58 +05h 10m Titan regional map
05:32:58 +08h 00m ISS Imaging. Global map
06:12:58 +08h 40m ISS Imaging. Photometry
06:32:58 +09h 00m Titan atmospheric observations. Obtain information on CO, HCN, CH4
08:32:58 +11h 00m ISS Imaging. Monitoring of surface and atmosphere
10:32:58 +13h 00m Titan regional map
11:32:58 +14h 00m Titan atmospheric observations. Obtain information on the thermal structure of Titan's stratosphere
12:14:58 +14h 42m Deadtime, 15 minutes and two seconds long. Used to accommodate changes in flyby time
12:30:00 +14h 58m Turn to Earth-line
13:00:00 +15h 28m Playback of T29 data. Madrid 70M

Titan Ground Trace

Image courtesy NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

The above image shows the ground trace of the Titan-29 flyby on a mosaic of Titan's surface, for a period of 32 hours around closest approach. The colour of the trace indicates Cassini's altitude above the surface. Blue: > 100 000 km, green: < 100 000 km, light blue: < 50 000, yellow: < 10 000 km, orange: < 5000 km, red: < 2000 km. The point of closest approach is marked T29. Cassini approaches Titan over the southern hemisphere, near latitude -30° at 16 hours before closest approach, and then continues to pass over Titan's northern hemisphere.

Last Update: 1 September 2019
18-Jan-2022 10:26 UT

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