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STARDUST Status Report

December 8, 2000

There were six Deep Space Network tracking passes during the past week. All subsystems are performing normally onboard the spacecraft.

STARDUST successfully performed trajectory correction maneuver #4 (TCM-4). The spacecraft fired its one-pound thrusters for 113 seconds, to equal the required burn time. For the first time when performing a TCM, radiometric X-band Doppler data were taken. A Doppler, or velocity, change of +131.6 Hz was observed, comparing very well to the predicted change of +129.8 Hz.

The orientation to point the spacecraft's thrusters in inertial space put the bottom of the spacecraft toward the Sun, requiring batteries to provide the necessary power for the burn. The lowest point in the battery state of charge was observed to be 79.8%.

The navigation camera heating sequence continues with both charge-coupled device and mirror motor heaters on. As the Sun shone on the bottom of the spacecraft where the navigation camera radiator is located, the spacecraft stayed in that attitude for an additional 18 minutes to add another heat source for the navigation camera. The charge-coupled device's temperature rose an additional 13 degrees to 25 C, and the mirror motor's temperature rose an additional 6 degrees to 27 C during this attitude. The navigation camera charge-coupled device heater remains on and will be kept in this configuration for another two weeks in order to provide the maximum heating time.

The solar opposition maneuver was accomplished when the spacecraft slewed back to Earth point following TCM-4.

The STARDUST project continues to participate in Deep Space Network (DSN) loading studies for late 2003 and early 2004 with NASA and all projects operating at this time. There are currently not enough DSN resources to meet the tracking requirements of all missions and these meetings are exploring setting NASA priorities, reviewing and validating requirements, risk mitigation strategies and building new DSN facilities.

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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