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Stardust Status Report

May 16, 2003

The Stardust team had one period of communication with the spacecraft in the past week. Telemetry relayed from the spacecraft indicates it is healthy and all subsystems continue to operate normally.

The in-flight testing required for Earth Return has been finalized. The mission's '1 Astronomical Unit Earth Return Testing Design' consists of three small trajectory correction maneuvers and numerous pitches and rolls of the Stardust spacecraft. These in-flight activities will be performed to calibrate the solar pressure and small forces acting on the spacecraft during its Earth-return cruise phase in 2006. This testing will validate the spacecraft ability to meet the earth entry accuracy requirements more than 2 years before Earth return. The testing will be performed this summer as it is the only time the spacecraft will be at 1 Astronomical Unit (or about 150 million kilometers) prior to Earth return.

Stardust's Cometary and Interplanetary Dust Analyzer was featured at a data management and archive meeting at the Finnish Meteorological Institute. A draft of the Cometary and Interplanetary Dust Analyzer's data archive will be provided to the Planetary Data System this summer for peer review. Formal delivery of the actual data is to be made shortly after Stardust's encounter with Comet Wild 2.

A space exploration documentary produced by Film Oasis highlighting Stardust and several other NASA missions has been distributed internationally in France, Australia, Asia, Portugal and Spain and will be shown in the United States late this year.

The Stardust Education and Public Outreach (E/PO) team, including its Educator Ambassadors and partner planetariums, participated in several Space Day activities throughout the United States. JPL Ambassador Bonnie Walters, from the Mesa Union Elementary School in Camarillo, California, organized speakers from JPL and other industry partners to speak to over 600 students on space exploration.

Information on the present position and orbits of the Stardust spacecraft and Comet Wild 2 may be found on the "Where Is Stardust Right Now?" web page located at:

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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