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Stardust Status Report

May 30, 2003

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

Over the next three weeks the Spacecraft Test Laboratory will run a series of test cases designed to stress the spacecraft's Attitude Control Subsystem. This will be accomplished by simulating dust particle hits (up to 1 centimeter in size) on different parts of Stardust's protective Whipple Shield. The first of these many tests was performed in the Spacecraft Test Laboratory by exercising the "bang-bang" controller. The "bang-bang" controller is the name for the attitude control strategy the spacecraft will use while inside the coma of Comet Wild 2. The controller has the authority to engage Stardust's primary and secondary thrusters in the event of a large dust particle impact on the spacecraft.

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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