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STARDUST Status Report

June 19, 1998

Ken Atkins
STARDUST Project Manager

Assembly, Test, and Launch Operations (ATLO) activities: Reinstallation of the flight Command and Data Handling (C&DH) and Power Control Assembly (PCA) boxes is underway. As I mentioned last week, these key components were removed for some electronics rework. For those just joining us, the C&DH is the "brain" of Stardust. It holds the central computer and all the interfaces and memory for collecting the science, spacecraft health and safety information on board. Then it processes the data and sends it to the radio for transmission to the controllers on Earth. This unit also receives instructions from the controllers and executes the commands for all the appropriate spacecraft functions. The PCA operates more like the "heart" as it takes the electric power coming from the solar arrays and directs it to all the electronics. It "pumps" the electricity needed to keep the ship alive.

The PCA was delivered to ATLO this morning (Friday) for installation the same day. The C&DH was expected to be delivered Saturday morning after loading the flight software on Friday. Test procedures for next week's continuation of the Spacecraft Performance Tests ( Part II of SPT #1) were checked out to be ready.

The Aerogel Team delivered an improved version of the "solid smoke" to Lockheed Martin this week for qualification testing. (If you're a first time visitor, check out what Aerogel is by clicking on the "Science" button and then on "Aerogel" to be amazed at some really strange stuff). The "qual" will subject the test unit to severe vibration and "shock" (like dropping it) to show this kind of aerogel can ride safely through the rocket launch without being shaken out of its sockets. Also on the science front, some important planning meetings were completed this week with the Navcamera and Dust Flux Monitor science teams. The meeting objectives were to review the proper commands and telemetry responses to include when we begin science testing in the space system.

Hopefully, some of you in Denver caught today's live TV broadcast from the assembly clean room on Channel 9, the NBC affiliate. STARDUST was featured along with the Mars 98 Lander. STARDUST was also subject of an article in the Salt Lake Tribune this week (See (if this is underlined, many people can click on it to get to the site automatically). Click on the 17 June Edition.

There were 263,000 hits on the STARDUST web site on June 16, a new record for the site. More than 337,000 names have now been collected for the second microchip. Be sure and check out the "Recent Web Updates" button. There, you can search through the names that have been collected to search for fellow "passengers" you might know. There are some pretty famous names there now. Also, be sure and click on the June 17 update button referring to our National Space Society (NSS) partner's event in Washington D.C. to catch photos of some of these folks making their "reservations."

Also, be sure to write us (click Questions/Comments at the bottom of the page) ...... we enjoy hearing from you.

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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