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Stardust Status Report

January 4, 2002

There were three Deep Space Network tracking passes in the past week, and all subsystems are normal. Now that Stardust has left solar conjuction and is no longer within 3 degrees of the Sun, its command loss timer was lowered back to 17 days.

Stardust successfully performed an 180-degree yaw maneuver before, during and after its time close to the Sun. During the conjunction, the spacecraft passed behind the Sun, and from the spacecraft's point of view the Sun moved from the -X (left-hand, if you were looking at the spacecraft) side of the spacecraft to the +X (right-hand) side. However, since the attitude subsystem had been commanded to keep the Sun on the -X side, the on-board software made the spacecraft slowly perform an 180-degree roll to keep the Sun on the proper side. The spacecraft is commanded to keep the Sun on the -X side to eliminate any potential solar array shadowing from the Whipple shield.

Preparations continue for Deep Space Maneuver 2, slated for January 18. The maneuver will be approximately 3 meters per second (8.5 miles per hour.)

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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