STARDUST Status Report
March 10, 2000
There were two Deep Space Network
(DSN) tracking passes during the
past week. All subsystems onboard the spacecraft are performing
normally. The only activities during the DSN passes were the playback
of recorded engineering and Navigation Camera images.
Discussions were completed as to when to stop interstellar dust
collection and when to perform trajectory correction maneuver 3 (TCM
3). Two options were discussed; keep the TCM on May 24 and stop
interstellar collection on May 1; or move TCM 3 to June 21 and stop
interstellar dust collection on May 20. After discussing the impacts
of both options, the scientists preferred that the collection be
stopped on May 1. Although the second option would provide a longer
collection period and fewer DSN contacts, the scientists were
concerned that the additional eight hours required for each weekly
contact in an off-interstellar dust collection attitude would cause
too much uncertainty in determining particle origin.
The total collection time for period 1 is well within the Mission
Plan. The Mission Plan called for the aerogel grid to be deployed
for 66 days during period 1. The current operations will have the
aerogel grid deployed for 69 days.
For more information on the STARDUST mission - the first ever comet sample
return mission - please visit the STARDUST home page: