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The STARDUST Drop Test

The Drop Test of the Structural Thermal Model Sample Return Capsule (SRC) was successfully completed February 5, 1998. This test occurred at the Utah Test and Training Range (UTTR) of the USAF Air Combat Command near Salt Lake City. The drop, from a balloon gondola, began at about 13,000 feet on the drogue parachute. The barometric switches triggered the main parachute on-cue at 10,000 ft., the radar reflector was easily picked up and tracked. Telescopes were also used to observe and film the SRC descent. The landing was extremely "soft." Congratulations to the "Heroes of the 'Salt Flats'."


Arriving early morning for Drop Test


Checking out the passenger compartment


Unfolding balloon


Preparing balloon for inflation


Almost ready for flight

Ready for take-off

See More Drop Test Images

Ron Baalke, STARDUST Webmaster Last Updated Monday, 29-Dec-2003 14:34:18 PST