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STARDUST Status Report

February 11, 2000

There were three Deep Space Network (DSN) trackig passes during the past week. All subsystems on board the spacecraft are performing normally. The spacecraft is in All-Stellar mode though multiple small firings of the thrusters are occurring. The fuel usage has decreased to less than 3 grams/day. Analysis of the high rate attitude telemetry is still in progress.

The only commanding during this period has been to reset the Command Loss Timer. The last DSN contact was when the spacecraft was less than 2 degrees from the Sun. All commands sent to the spacecraft were received although the signal was noisier than normal due interference with the Sun.

Solar conjunction occurs on Thursday February 10 when the angle between the spacecraft and the Sun, as seen from Earth, will be 0.16 degrees. After the conjunction STARDUST will start its return to Earth that will culminate in an Earth flyby on January 15, 2001. The flyby marks the completion of the first of three orbits around the Sun.

The Peer Review of the upcoming Sample Return Capsule (SRC) deployment was held. During the review the SRC mechanisms (latches, hinge, shoulder and wrist) were described and the commands for deployment discussed. The review board was positive in its comments. One of the board recommendations was to start the SRC motors warm-up the day before to ensure the motors were at operating temperatures at the start of their movement. The motor temperatures are approximately -65 C.

For more information on the STARDUST mission - the first ever comet sample return mission - please visit the STARDUST home page:

Last Updated: November 26, 2003
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