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STARDUST Status Report

January 16, 1998

Ken Atkins
STARDUST Project Manager

Hi Stardusters! ....... Here's our report from the bridge for this week.

Assembly Test and Launch Operations phase activity begin ramping up this week with panels arriving in the high-bay area at Lockheed-Martin. We are still in the process of final security approval at Lockheed-Martin before images of the assembly area will start being posted on this website. We expect this to be resolved very soon. So keep watching. I know this sounds a bit like waiting for the weather forecast on the 10 pm news, but we are working the problem and we will succeed.

The Flight Sample Return Capsule successfully completed centrifuge loads testing. This is an important milestone and signals its availablity to start loading the flight electronics, etc.

The Cometary & Interstellar Dust Analyzer (CIDA) Engineering Model (Remember, this is one of our instruments to find out what Stardust really is.) has been delivered, bench tested by the CIDA team and cabled up in the Spacecraft Test Lab (STL) for interface testing which is just getting underway. This testing will allow us to test the electronic interfaces between this instrument and the spacecraft's data system. We want to take simulated impact data from the sensor and flow-it all the way through the flight and ground systems to a scientific display station. We'll then be sure CIDA can "phone home" from the comet. Success in this test will clear the way for our German colleagues to complete the fabrication of the actual flight unit.

Outreach: a STARDUST Fellowship opportunity for teachers was announced and posted on the website under Education, What's New, and on the home page. This excellent opportunity is sponsored through the Challenger Center, one of three education partners. If you're a teacher....go for it!

Outreach: The first microchip containing thousands of names collected during the fall; letters from the target comet, Wild -2, discoverer Paul Wild, from the Principal Investigator and others; along with photos of the development teams was delivered to Lockheed-Martin for installation in the Sample Return Capsule. Because of the significant interest by the public in this opportunity, a second chip is being planned. So once again.....stay tuned....if you or any of your friends missed the first opportunity. It's amazing to see a small chip the size of your little fingernail contining such a huge amount of information. Look for its picture elswhere on the site.

See you next week!

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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