It's just started. I'll keep an eye on things and post updates here (newest at the bottom for my convenience).
The SOI (Saturn Orbital Insertion) retro-rocket burn has been initiated and orbital insertion is nominal so far. They're 45K miles up, going about 55K mph and accelerating.
Canbera, the Australian component of the Deep Space Network, is tracking Cassini-Huygens descent.
Congressmen shaking hands with Ed Weiler and Charles Alachi of NASA.
7:42PM 43K miles above the cloud tops, 55K mph.
8 minutes into the 90 minute SOI burn.
The pass through F and G rings went well and the burn fired on schedule. The only scary bit left will happen at 9:12 or 9:13 when the burn is scheduled to end. They continue to follow the doppler predict well.
update: Tekumse notes in the comments (thanks!) that the pictures are now up.
14 minutes into the burn and the craft is following the predicts just about perfectly. We're about to pass through some of the A ring and the signal from the craft may get noisy.
35K miles above the clouds, traveling at 58K mph. Still accelerating as massive Saturn's gravity kicks the butt of Cassini's 100 pound rocket.
The A ring makes itself known on the doppler tracking. Everything going according to plan.
29K mi above the cloud tops racing at 60K mph. The doppler and carrier signal are coming in and out as the craft is behind the A ring.
A ring is still blocking a big chunk of our signal, but not quite as much as expected so we can still track the doppler predict and actual path with some confidence. We're a few minutes away from the Cassini division where we expect to get a few minutes of booming loud signal before we pass behind the denser B ring and that's when we expect signal to get seriously weak.
SOI systems engineer just announce (to applause) the halfway point. About to approach the B ring.
(I just got an email asking about photos. I think the first photos are due tomorrow morning, maybe around 5am, though I could be wrong. I'm not expecting any photos this evening though. The data we'll get here is all doppler now and maybe we'll get some additional telemetry.)
20K miles up moving at 64K mph. 3 minutes from Cassini division and signal increase.
Increase in signal at Cassini division just showed up on the graph.
Tracking the doppler predicts very, very well. Expected hard loss of signal behind B ring in about a minute.
And we're in the B ring with no signal expected for a while. 16K miles altitude at 66K mph.
Navigator Troy Goodson announces that Cassini-Huygens is now an orbital captured object around Saturn. (much applause)
13K miles altitude, speeding along at 69K mph.
Closest approach and speed has started slowing. We're nearly out of B ring occultation.
Leaving B ring, entering C ring and signal is nice and strong (applause).
SOI burn is 92% complete and doppler should track through the remainder of the burn. Everything is looking great!
(It's also worth noting here that the one-way light time to Saturn is about 1.5 hours so all of this has actually already happened a while ago. We're all spectators, even the mission crew :-)
Maybe a slight overburn based on the doppler information, but nothing out of the ordinary. We're just a couple of minutes from the end of the burn.
Applause all over. Burn complete! Burn completion within 1 second of the nominal time! That's just amazing to me.
That's all for me tonight. I'll pick up in the morning with some images if there's anything to show and maybe I'll get around to giving out those gmail invites (I think I have three).
update: press conference underway at JPL. Maybe I'll throw some notes down. maybe not :)