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STARDUST Status Report

March 27, 1998

Ken Atkins
STARDUST Project Manager

Assembly, Test, and Launch Operations (ATLO) activities: ATLO effort focused on wrapping the harness, building/installing the main Whipple shield and planning the Cometary & Interstellar Dust Analyzer (CIDA) keep-alive-power converter installation. ("Keep-alive" power is wiring to insure power remains available to the CIDA memory during any instrument resets/interruptions so calibration data is not lost). The flight solar arrays were delivered.

Testing of the flight Sample Return Capsule (SRC) continued to go very well. The SRC thermal vacuum test completed the cold testing of avionics, heaters, capsule opening/closing and aerogel tray deployment/closing, the hot case is progress and the test is expected to be completed this weekend.

A significant amount of testing (over 60 hours) was completed on the redesigned field-programmable gate array (FPGA) interface to the Cometary and Interstellar Dust Analyzer (CIDA).

An informal Technical Risk Review was conducted at Lockheed Martin Astronautics in Denver, CO on 3/26 by the Mission Assurance Manager with key STARDUST JPL and Lockheed Martin team members including the Principal Investigator, Dr. Donald Brownlee of the University of Washington.

Aerogel: The team successfully demonstrated the capability for automated aerogel tile insertion in the collector tray. This is a significant milestone accomplishment on holding the 4/13 delivery schedule. The team also started production of flight tiles this week.

The JPL Employee Recreation Club now has T-shirts and sweat shirts with the STARDUST encounter at Wild-2 artwork. The sweatshirts sell for $16 and T-shirts cost $10. These items can be purchased in person, on-line ( or by calling ERC at (818) 354-6120.

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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