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Stardust Status Report

March 2, 2001

There were eleven Deep Space Network (DSN) tracking passes in the past week and all subsystems are performing normally. The STARDUST spacecraft is currently over 25 million kilometers from Earth, and has travelled over 1.5 billion kilometers since its launch in February 1999.

On Monday, February 26, the first of two mirror calibrations was successfully performed. The mirror was moved in ten-degree increments, from 0 to 180 degrees, and took an image at each stop. The resulting pointing data will be compared with calibration data taken before launch. This calibration will be used to provide data to the software that determines the Comet Wild 2 nucleus position during the upcoming encounter in 2004.

The Cometary and Interstellar Dust Analyzer (CIDA), an instrument developed by the Max-Planck Institute in Garching, Germany, will begin its next collection period on March 16. CIDA will collect particles of interstellar dust to determine their composition.

Bob Saxton, the "Honorary" Stardust Guitarist, played this song titled "Stardust" for your listening pleasure:

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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