Stardust Status Report
February 16, 2001
There were fifteen Deep Space Network (DSN) tracking passes in the past
week and all subsystems are performing normally.
The Cometary Interstellar Dust Analyzer (CIDA) was successfully commanded
to perform the second and third checkout activities, and is now in its
operational state awaiting particle hits. CIDA's purpose is to collect dust
and analyze it in real time. Analysis indicates that CIDA suffered no
damage due to the solar flare in November 2000.
One of the on-going activities is the analysis to determine the cause of
the multiple firings that are occasionally seen when the spacecraft's
attitude reaches the edge of the deadband, or the edge of the region
through which the spacecraft can drift without correcting itself. A
typical deadband used for communicating with the spacecraft is 4 degrees in
the X, Y and Z-axes and the spacecraft commonly moves through the deadband
at a rate of less than 0.02 degrees/second. When the spacecraft's attitude
hits the edge of the deadband, commands are automatically issued to the
thrusters to move the spacecraft toward the other side of the deadband.
Sometimes when the thruster commands are issued, the software does not
realize the spacecraft is moving in the right direction and issues a
redundant thruster firing to ensure that the proper direction is achieved.
Commands were executed to record the attitude telemetry data at a very high
rate for three hours in the hopes that a multiple firing would occur.
Analysis of this data is ongoing.
For more information on the Stardust mission - the first ever
comet sample return mission - please visit the Stardust home page: