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Stardust Status Report

November 2, 2001

There was one Deep Space Network (DSN) tracking pass in the past week. The Stardust spacecraft is currently 2.45 AU (about 228 million miles) from the Sun, and all of its subsystems are performing normally.

The power subsystem team has been conservatively predicting that the DSN passes beyond 2.3 AU (about 214 million miles) from the Sun will require power from the battery, thus limiting their duration. To date, the solar arrays are providing sufficient power during the DSN passes, and the batteries have not yet been used during a communications pass.

One possible reason is that the solar array, when cold, (-58 C or -72 F) provides more power. This factor, coupled with smaller heater loads, gives a larger power margin than predicted. The power engineers are continuing to analyze this in order to better predict the power margin. Since Stardust continues to go further from the Sun than any other solar-powered spacecraft, no flight data for solar panel performance at this solar distance exists to help predict Stardust's performance.

Data Management and Archive team members met with the Max Planck Institute and the Finnish Meteorological Institute. They made great progress in producing a data archive for the Cometary and Interstellar Dust Analyzer (CIDA) instrument to deliver to the NASA Planetary Data System. The archive will include instrument and data descriptions and calibrations, ground and flight data and ancillary data to support data reduction.

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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