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STARDUST Status Report

August 4, 2000

There were two Deep Space Network (DSN) tracking passes during the past week. All subsystems onboard the spacecraft are performing normally.

The Navigation Camera (NAVCAM) Charge Couple Device (CCD) heater test has been postponed. The NAVCAM designer expressed concern that the CCD could have incurred radiation damage during the large solar flare on July 12, 2000. An image will be taken next week to verify if any damage was incurred by the solar flare. The solar flare radiation may increase the CCD dark current (background noise) that could mask dim star and Comet Wild 2 images.

A meeting was held at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to discuss the upcoming Earth Gravity Assist (EGA). EGA will occur on January 15, 2001 when STARDUST will flyby Earth at a distance of 6,000 km. The flyby will be reasonably uneventful, only using the Earth's gravity to send the spacecraft farther out into the solar system, out to the orbit of Comet Wild 2. After the flyby, images will be taken of the Earth and Moon by the NAVCAM to help determine the performance of the camera.

Also during the meeting at JPL, plans were made to conduct an Encounter Workshop during the spring of 2001. At that time Encounter will be less than 3 years away. The encounter scenario will be reviewed and the spacecraft's current performance will be evaluated for its impact on the Encounter scenario.

The STARDUST Education and Public Outreach team supported the NASA Solar System Educators Workshop held at JPL with 47 teachers from across the country participating. The JPL news release titled "BACK TO SCHOOL: INSPIRING AMERICA'S YOUTH" dated 2 August described this activity in more detail.

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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