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STARDUST Status Report

July 28, 2000

There was one Deep Space Network (DSN) tracking pass during the past week. All subsystems onboard the spacecraft are performing normally.

The checkout of the Navigation Camera (NAVCMA) Charge Couple Device (CCD) was successfully performed. This checkout turned the heater on for 40 minutes and the thermal profile was compared against predicts. The CCD temperature rose nearly 20 degrees (C). Also, there was a 4 degree rise in temperature detected in front of the primary optics by the mirror. The current plan is to turn on the heater two hours before the start of the first DSN pass in August. The heater will then be left on for a week with calibration images taken periodically. Based on the heater checkout, the CCD temperature will not exceed its flight allowable value.

During STARDUST's next aphelion, in April 2002, the predicted power margin will be minimal as expected. In order to determine the actual power consumption while still away from the Sun (1.8 AU), a test of the spacecraft's aphelion configuration was started on Tuesday. This test included powering off the Cometary Interplanetary Dust Analyzer (CIDA), placing CIDA's heaters in their non-operational set-points, and changing the CPU speed to 10 MHz. During the non-contact period, power and thermal data will be collected every minute and recorded for playback during the next DSN pass. The spacecraft was then returned to its current cruise configuration.

A solicited oral presentation on STARDUST was given by the Deputy Project Manager, Tom Duxbury, to start the 33rd COSPAR Science Assembly session on Small Body Exploration in Warsaw, Poland. Plans were made to include a special session on Comet Wild 2 in the 2002 COSPAR meeting, bringing together the world cometary experts to discuss the latest observations, modeling and data analyses. New understandings of Comet Wild 2 of its size, brightness, albedo, rotational state, dust and gas production, etc. will be factored into the Wild 2 encounter operations planning.

A science presentation to JPL was given by the Camera Team Lead, Ray Newburn, in the von Karman auditorium with excellent lab participation.

A NASA Teachers Workshop was supported at JPL and two Web Chats were held in support of the NASA/JPL Ambassadors Program.

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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