STARDUST Status Report
March 20, 1998
STARDUST Project Manager
Assembly, Test, and Launch Operations (ATLO) activities: Propulsion testing
was completed. The Pyro Initiator Unit (PIU) also completed testing. As
noted last week, this element of the electric power subsystem triggers the
various releases and deployments during the mission (e.g. Sample Return
Capsule (SRC) separation from the spacecraft.)
Testing of the SRC continued to go very well. The acoustic test , validating
compatibility with the environmental frequencies representative of the launch
vehicle, was successfully completed. The SRC was moved to the thermal vacuum
test facility and the functional tests run.
The flight solar array, the unit that converts sunlight to electricity
for powering the Stardust spacecraft, completed its pre-ship review at Lockheed-Martin
Sunnyvale. Shipment to Denver is set for 3/23.
More good news on the Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU ) that helps control
the spacecraft's attitude in space: The leak tests were consistent with
lifetime requirements. The results show good margin for the STARDUST application.
Opportunity and Outreach: One of our educational outreach partners, the
JASON Foundation, affiliated with Dr. Robert Ballard, the discoverer of
the Titanic, began broadcasting of their annual event this week. The broadcast
will run from March 16th to March 27th, and includes a segment mentioning
STARDUST. The broadcast will be viewed by 1 million children and teachers
from JASON's electronic satellite sites, classroom locations, or Internet
connections. Special viewing for Congress, their staffers and families are
to be held this Saturday, March 28, 10 am, 11:30 am, and 1 PM EST, at the
National Geographic site in Washington D.C.
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/