OFJ Field Journal from Randy Herrera - 9/29/95
LOTS TO DO, INCLUDING FOOD PLANNINGToday is a Friday and the week hasn't gone very well. Our Team (the Radio Science Team) is planning to conduct two Operational Readiness Tests (ORTs; basically, a type of dress rehearsal) before our occultation experiment in December. Occultation experiments can be run when anything is between the Earth and the spacecraft: a planet, a satellite, the Sun, or the solar wind. The experiment (where we'll be looking at Jupiter's atmosphere) is on Dec 8. So we're planning the first ORT for either Oct 10 or 12. We would like the second one to be somewhere around Nov 8. It is the job of the Radio Science Support Team to put together the plan for these ORTs.
YIKES! Well, it's less than two weeks before the first ORT and I have yet to finish the test plan. Why? First of all, I have to write a "script" for the actual experiment that details every event pertinent to the experiment. This includes when files will be delivered, when certain software will be run (and by whom), what activities need to be performed at the ground station to get the equipment ready for the experiment, and so on.
Second, the normal work of getting future sequences ready continues. The spacecraft will orbit Jupiter 11 times during the lifetime of the prime mission. Each orbit has three parts to it. The first--and most busy--part is called the "encounter" period (when the spacecraft is closest to Jupiter and its satellites). Each orbital encounter period will come very close to one of Jupiter's largest moons (Ganymede, Callisto, and Europa), which is why we use the term "encounter." This week, the Project is working on 5 different sequences: the 7th, 8th, and 10th orbits (two encounters with the moon Ganymede, one with Callisto: G7A, G8, C10), and two sequences just before and after arriving at Jupiter. As the team chief for the Radio Science Support Team and as Science Coordinator for the Radio Science Team, it is part of my job to supervise the work that other members of the Support Team do on each of those sequences. Right now, I also have a stack of 13 other issues that I am working on or that I have assigned to people on the Support Team. So, you can see that there's a lot to do (and why I haven't been able to finish the ops script).