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
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: