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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:

Last Updated: November 26, 2003
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