STARDUST Status Report
August 7, 1998
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: http://stardust.jpl.nasa.gov