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STARDUST Status Report

December 1, 2000

The STARDUST spacecraft and all subsystems are performing normally in cruise sequence SC024. The Navigation Camera's charge-coupled device and mirror motor heaters were turned on in a continuing effort to improve camera performance. An image of the calibration lamp was transmitted to Earth, showing that the camera continues to improve. With both heaters on, the temperatures of the CCD and mirror motor are already a few degrees higher than the previous heating cycle and are expected to rise even a few more degrees when trajectory correction maneuver #4 (TCM-4) is performed, since the inertial measurement unit is on and the sun will be shining on the Navigation Camera radiator. These heaters will be turned off later in December before trajectory correction maneuver #5 (TCM-5).

All processes are proceeding well in preparation for Earth Gravity Assist (EGA.) The trajectory correction maneuver that was planned for this week has been moved to next week. A larger than desired error accumulated in the calculated maneuver due to erroneous small forces data obtained while in safe mode last week. This error could have been taken out in TCM-5; however it was decided to remove this error in TCM-4. An additional benefit was gained by combining TCM-4 with the spacecraft turn to EGA flyby attitude all in one sequence next week rather than 2 sequences if we implemented TCM-4 this week and then the turn to EGA attitude next week.

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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