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STARDUST Status Report

July 10, 1998

Ken Atkins
STARDUST Project Manager

Assembly, Test, and Launch Operations (ATLO) activities: The Lockheed Martin Team completed the close out and loading of the spacecraft into the shipping container for move to the Multiple Test Facility (MTF) on schedule -- July 11!! This signals a major step in readying the ship for flight. In the MTF it will be subjected to the vacuum, thermal and other environments it will experience in actual flight to the comet. This literal "spin, shake, and bake" is intended to unmask any weak spots in Stardust's flight readiness. The move to the MTF is like the "roll out" before first flight tests of new airplanes.

With the vehicle now assembled, the team is now anticipating a chance to see how designs and manufacturing will work all together in the crucible of space. It is an exciting time.

Certainly for those visiting this site regularly, you have been able to follow the action on the vidicam of the dedicated folks in the "bunny suits" as they have carefully brought all the pieces together. We know Stardust is "alive" in the protective, air-filled comfort of the "room-temperature" high bay. Now we're moving the camera with the ship to chronicle the adventures in the tougher regime of environmental and thermal test. So, stay tuned.

We announced with the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund that all 58,214 names from the Vietnam Memorial will be added to the second microchip as a tribute to those who fell in America's longest war. Approximately 2,500,000 people visit "The Wall" each year, making it the most-visited memorial in Washington D.C. The full text of the press release is available by clicking on "Stardust in the News" under the "What's New" beacon on the homepage.

We are now more than 600,000 "passengers" for the Wild-2 ride!

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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