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STARDUST Status Report

March 20, 1998

Ken Atkins
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:

Last Updated: November 26, 2003
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