STARDUST Status Report
January 30, 1998
STARDUST Project Manager
We have completed all steps to conduct the Structural Thermal Model (STM)
Sample Return Capsule (SRC) Aerial Drop Test. The test unit was checked
out end-to-end, packaged and shipped with support equipment to the Utah
Test & Training Range near Salt Lake City. We will be ready to test
Tuesday during the 7:00 to 10:00 am window, weather permitting (5 day forecast
indicates snow!). Remember, this is to drop the capsule from a balloon at
10, 000 feet.
The Flight computer and data system has been installed on the spacecraft
for Electrical Power and Continuity (EP&C) testing. This is to make
sure the wiring is ok and the nerve system and brain is ready to begin work
with all the units as they become installed. Note: ATLO means the Assembly,
Test and Launch Operations phase of the project. This is where the flight
system comes together as a unit. All interfaces are mated and tested as
the project prepares for the shipment next November to Cape Canaveral for
All three Low Gain Antennas (LGA's) were mounted on the spacecraft in
the high bay. The Medium Gain Antenna thermal and performance tests were
completed and the antenna delivered to ATLO.
The propulsion subsystem was delivered to ATLO.
The star camera flight units are now proceeding on schedule to deliver
3/13.This represents recovery of a long-term top issue and will be a very
welcome milestone completion. Note: The star cameras take pictures of the
star background and these are used by the spacecraft to keep its balance
in space where there is no "up" or "down"!
5 of 6 NavCam flight power supplies have been delivered. This represents
significant progress in getting the flight build back on schedule for Marchdelivery.
Note: the navigation camera is the camera with a telescope to pick out the
comet nucleus as early as possible so the navigators can target the spacecraft
for the right flyby distance to catch the particles. The Navcam is also
what captures the pictures we will see back here on Earth.
Project completed review of the launch vehicle mission plan to meet the
Stardust mission launch requirements for next February's blast off. This
includes timeline of events from lift-off through Stardust's separation
from the rocket and arrival on the trajectory to the comet.
Project also completed a review of the flight commands for collector
deploy/stow, image sequencing (picture taking) of the comet and the timeline
of the events at encounter.
We think we're almost ready to begin sending pictures from the high bay
of the spacecraft as it is being assembled. One more check off meeting is
scheduled for next week. So stay tuned!!!
For more information on the STARDUST mission - the first ever comet sample
return mission - please visit the STARDUST home page: http://stardust.jpl.nasa.gov/