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STARDUST Status Report

August 7, 1998

Ken Atkins
STARDUST Project Manager

Assembly, Test, and Launch Operations (ATLO) activities: This week's focus was on solar array and high gain antenna installation, moving to the rotation fixture, and performing "aliveness" and functional testing. It was very clear to those of you watching the action on the webcam lots of things were occurring. Some very impressive views were available as the ATLO team moved around and worked STARDUST through its paces.

Part A of the second system performance test (SPT) was successfully completed including checkout of the launch sequences, Navigation Camera imaging (windowed) and the sample return capsule (SRC) deployment sequences. The latter was done in the horizontal position in the very clean glove box enclosure. The careful handling when we open the SRC is necessary to ensure we keep the aerogel surfaces very clean when the actual flight collector is installed later this year. The opening of the SRC and the deployment of the ATLO test unit collector showed the SRC responded appropriately to the sequence of commands sent through the computer. This underscores our confidence the system will do exactly the same when it is at the comet and we place the action under full control of the on-board computer.

After the horizontal SRC testing, the spacecraft was moved to the acoustic chamber to prepare for checking its capability to ride the vibration of the launch rocket. The flight system continues to show no hardware functional problems going into environmental test.

The millionth name was received this week for the second microchip, and a press release announcing the milestone generated a number of media responses. Now 1,010,518 names have been collected so far for the second microchip. Combined with the first microchip (136,237), STARDUST has a total of 1,146,755 names. Welcome aboard!

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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