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STARDUST Status Report

November 14, 1997

Ken Atkins
STARDUST Project Manager

The HQ Quarterly Review with added Center (JPL) and industry reviewers was held this week. Stardust Performance Management System (PMS) showed good metrics on cost, schedule variances and earned-value for the project through October. Reserves are adequate to cover all requirements that emerged from the recent Phase C-D estimate-to-complete exercise.

Good progress continues on the pre-ATLO (Assembly, Test and Launch Operations Phase) test matrix centered around the Spacecraft Test Lab (STL) at Lockheed-Martin. A metric milestone was reached at about 80% of the matrix tests completed.

Pre-ATLO propulsion subsystem integration completed the installation of the Rocket Engine Modules (REM's) on the flight structure's -z panel.

The flight heat shield was bonded to the forebody of the Sample Return Capsule (SRC). This represents a significant success for the developers of the high tech, low-mass ablator shield and opens the way for direct-entry returns for STARDUST and other future interplanetary sample return missions.

Eglin AFB conducted the first supersonic stability checkout run with a sample return capsule model. The full testing regimen is scheduled for next week.

Recall that recently we reported that the flight Dust Flux Monitor (DFM) was tested in the STARDUST Mission Test System with data on particle "hits" flowing all the way from the sensor through the telemetry system to the science receiving station. This week that test data was transmitted to the Planetary Data System completing a full end-to-end rehearsal of how the actual flight data will be handled.

The Web Site added up-to-date photos of the flight hardware and some engineering units this week. The STARDUST web site hit a peak of 42,995 hits on November 11 , and has been averaging 14,800 hits/day for the week. The 42,995 hits was the highest total this year, no doubt due to the November 10th press release inviting the public to submit names to fly round trip to the comet. As of November 13th, 103,000 names have been received electronically.

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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