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Stardust Status Report

February 22, 2002

There were two Deep Space Network (DSN) tracking passes in the past week, and all subsystems are performing normally. Stardust is currently 2.69 AU (about 250 million miles, or 400 million kilometers) from the Sun.

Since the spacecraft is far from the Sun, it will rely heavily on its battery, which backs up the solar arrays especially at such times as DSN communication sessions.

This reliance will last for the next few months, so the flight team made the spacecraft more sensitive to its power state, and less likely to request entry into safe mode. The team raised the limit at which the spacecraft would place itself into safe mode from a 50-percent-charged battery to an 80-percent-charged battery. The value for performing a side swap (switching from one identical backup system to the other) was revised from 45 to 75 percent. The battery's charge state after a communications session is typically around 90 percent.

Also, the length of the remaining DSN passes was cut from 4 to 2.5 hours. This will ensure that the charge state stays well above 80%.

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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