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Stardust Status Report

October 11, 2002

Stardust had three periods of radio contact through JPL's Deep Space Network this week. The spacecraft is in good health and is continuing to collect interstellar particles.

Heaters for the Navigation Camera's light-sensing electronics and mirror motor and were turned on for 3 days to remove a very slight contamination that built up during a year-long period in which the camera was not used. Additional star images were taken, including some through the periscope, to continue to characterize the camera's performance.

A trajectory correction maneuver was completed successfully on October 9th.

The spacecraft has a sequence of procedures to perform during its comet encounter. Many successful tests of the encounter sequence have been performed in the Spacecraft Test Laboratory. The encounter sequence includes an updated way of calculating how to track the comet nucleus, based on lessons learned during the Deep Space 1 spacecraft's encounter with comet Borrelly last year. This updated software worked successfully in the simulated encounters, including one case in which it commanded the spacecraft to perform a 7-degree roll turn to continue tracking the nucleus.

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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