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Stardust Status Report

December 7, 2001

There were two Deep Space Network (DSN) passes during the past week, and all subsystems are normal. Stardust is currently 2.55 AU (237 million miles) from the Sun. The time it takes for a signal to leave Earth and come back is 58 minutes and 15 seconds.

The first battery discharges were observed during the two DSN passes. The battery's state of charge typically cycles from 107 to 108 percent. When the state of charge reaches 108 percent, the battery is discharged until the state of charge reaches 107 percent; then the battery is slowly charged back to 108 percent. During the last DSN pass, which lasted four hours and fifteen minutes, the battery's state of charge ended at 102.6 percent. We had predicted that the predicted battery's state of charge at the end of the pass would be approximately 97 percent. This indicates the power subsystem is performing better than predicted, which is very good news. When the spacecraft reaches maximum solar range (2.72 AU, or about 253 million miles from the Sun) in April, the battery's state of charge for a three-hour DSN pass is predicted to be 60 percent.

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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