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
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: