Post-Flyby Data Less Than Two Hours Away

Todd BarberTodd Barber, Cassini Lead Propulsion Engineer (bio)

Hello again from the realm of Cassini engineering!  Even though many of the engineering events of this flyby are now behind us, I wanted to take a minute to say how much the flight teams (science AND engineering) have enjoyed all your wonderful blog comments.  We are chomping at the bit for the first data playback in less than three hours, just like you.  A lot of hard work and planning went into this daringly close flyby of Enceladus.  We hope all our efforts will be rewarded very soon.
As an engineer, I’m looking forward to seeing telemetry that would show we’ve come through the Enceladus flyby safely and successfully.  However, as a scientist-wannabe myself, I think I’m more anxiously awaiting the first images and science results from this historic encounter. 
Fortunately, my engineering “plate” has been full today, helping the hours and minutes pass more quickly.  Even in the midst of this encounter, we have been preparing to open the main-engine cover and execute a roughly 17-second rocket firing on Thursday afternoon PDT.  This maneuver will change Cassini’s zippy speed by only 2.76 meters per second, or 6.17 miles per hour, but yet it is critical to set up our next encounter, a 1,000-kilometer (621-mile) Titan flyby on March 25, 2008.  Even as we pause briefly to revel in what we hope is the success of our Enceladus rendezvous, the spacecraft always looks forward to the next encounter and a continued flood of science data.  Go, Cassini, go!

3 thoughts on “Post-Flyby Data Less Than Two Hours Away”

  1. Thank you Todd Barber for the update. You are far from being a “scientist-wannabe” — you are one of the many scientist that made this flyby possible! Thank you.

  2. Hi. First of all, congratulations to all the people involved in this amazing adventure. I have to say that this was one of the most exciting times a have had in my live. I have a question: the gravitational pull of Enceladus posed big problems in the maneuver?

  3. Bravo, Todd Barber for the success of this flyby! (and thanks for the update).
    I’m a great fan of the Cassini-Huygens mission and this has been nearly so exciting as the Iapetus Flyby (“nearly” for me because i had other things to worry about; without them, it would have been even more exciting). Congratulations again and thanks!

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