Stardust Status Report
December 19, 2003
The Stardust team has had daily communications with the spacecraft in the past
week. Telemetry relayed from the spacecraft remains in very good shape as
it approaches its date with Comet Wild 2 in about 13 days.
The Comet Wild 2 encounter attitude control mode that uses the primary and
secondary thrusters to keep the spacecraft behind the protective Whipple
Shield was successfully tested in the Spacecraft Test Laboratory and then
in flight on the spacecraft.
Daily optical navigation images are being taken in support of the
spacecraft's upcoming encounter.
While Comet Wild 2 has been in the spacecraft's sights since Nov. 19, the
comet was successfully observed from Earth for the first time since it went
behind the sun last spring by Dr. Alan Tokunaga at the Infrared Telescope
Facility in Hawaii.
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: