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STARDUST Status Report

December 19, 1997

Ken Atkins
STARDUST Project Manager

  • The Navigation Camera's Interface Test made significant progress this week. Pictures were taken and images retrieved from the packets after passing through the end-to-end (uplink and downlink) ground data system. This activity represents a key element of the pre-ATLO (Assembly, Test and Launch Operations) concurrent engineering tests. Software, hardware, and ground operations were all involved.

  • Excellent progress this week on the testing of the Sample Return Capsule's separation & spin-up mechanism.

  • The Aerogel Team completed a status review of the recovery plan revalidating the production process is in-place and well-understood. Variations were put under change control dates for delivery of the qual unit and the protoflight were confirmed.

  • A 3 DOF (degrees of freedom) analysis of the entry trajectory with the Sample Return Capsule ballasted to 44 kg shows that there will be no problem with the timer. The main chute will deploy at about 11,000 ft instead of 10,000 ft resulting in 0.4 km increase in the footprint. The drogue chute will deploy at MACH 1.41 vs. 1.40.

  • A resolution of the leakage on the inertial measurement unit is being pursued aggressively at Honeywell and Lockheed-Martin. Options under study include ways to achieve the 7 year life with a pressurized and sealed can and investigation of venting and operating at vacuum either right away or after the first maneuvers.

  • There will be no report next 2 Fridays --- the day after Christmas and the day after New Years Day. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone from the entire STARDUST Team!!! We look forward to communicating our progress as the full system assembly and test phase begins in January.

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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