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Stardust Status Report

June 22, 2001

The Stardust spacecraft continues in excellent health. There was one Deep Space Network (DSN) tracking pass this past week on June 14, and all subsystems are performing normally.

The Cometary and Interstellar Dust Analyzer (CIDA) instrument continues to observe the interstellar dust stream with an optimal attitude when the spacecraft is not communication with the Earth.

Ten of sixteen encounter Guide Star images, taken on June 8, were downlinked during our pass on June 14. The image quality remains excellent and there is no sign of recontamination.

Last November's solar flare prompted team members to re-examine how long the spacecraft remains in Sun coning mode. The analysis showed that if the spacecraft stayed in Sun coning mode for approximately fifteen days, the spacecraft could drift far enough away from the Sun that it might not be able to maintain a steady power supply. A new block, correcting this, was sent to the spacecraft during the DSN pass. If the spacecraft begins Sun coning, this block will determine whether safe mode is responsible. If that is the case, the block will cause the spacecraft to re-enter safe mode after fifteen days, updating the Sun knowledge.

The Stardust Outreach Office is in the process of negotiating a Memoranda Of Understanding (MOU) with Space Explorers. Inc. in Green Bay, Wisconsin, so that they can use aerogel in the November launch of the Shuttle and Space Station encounter. Aerogel will be used as insulation in an electronic cooling device that will allow 600 to 700 students from Chicago and Wisconsin areas to conduct biological experiments.

Stardust Outreach also attended and supported the 2001 Travis Air Show at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California on June 16th and 17th. Approximately 200,000 were in attendance at the air show.

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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