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STARDUST Status Report

February 6, 1998

Ken Atkins
STARDUST Project Manager

Today (February 6) marks 365 days to Launch! The system assembly and test activities (aka "ATLO") continue to move very well at Lockheed-Martin's Astronautics Co. in Denver. The Key this week was the installation of the Power Control Assembly (PCA) ATLO Test Unit (ATU) on the spacecraft for electrical power and continuity (EP&C) testing. This testing will begin the process of insuring that the "blood and nervous systems" of the spacecraft, power and data , are in place and working well. The spacecraft was powered-on at 9 am February 5, 1998. EP&C tests were completed and command & telemetry interface testing has been initiated.

Major Event: The Drop Test of the Structural Thermal Model Sample Return Capsule (SRC) was successfully completed February 5, 1998. This test occurred at the Utah Test and Training Range (UTTR) of the USAF Air Combat Command near Salt Lake City. The drop, from a balloon gondola, began at about 13,000 feet on the drogue parachute. The barometric switches triggered the main parachute on-cue at 10,000 ft., the radar reflector was easily picked up and tracked. Telescopes were also used to observe and film the SRC descent. The landing was extremely "soft." Congratulations to the "Heroes of the 'Salt Flats'."

Excellent progress was also made this week on several other activities:

* Operations: The Launch and Solar Array deploy command block was delivered to JPL for inclusion in sequence generation (SEQGEN) software. Table top review of the Flight Rules was completed. The Command Dictionary was updated. The flyby targeting process update was completed incorporating the updated Comet Wild-2 dust model.

* Navigation Camera: All of the power supplies for the flight unit were delivered this week!! This has been a key critical path item on the delivery path.

'Til 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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