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STARDUST Status Report

August 21, 1998

Ken Atkins
STARDUST Project Manager

Assembly, Test, and Launch Operations (ATLO) activities: The principal activities this week were completion of post-acoustic-test functional check out, launch vehicle separation pyro-shock test, checking the Payload Adapter Fitting (PAF) from the Delta rocket, and unloading the simulated propellant (isopropyl alcohol). The PAF is the device that "hooks" us up on the rocket and keeps us there 'til we are ready to get off. It's kind of a "seatbelt" for our rocket ride to space. It has to fit with our adapter ring on the main spacecraft shield. It's important to check the fit ahead of time....because we found out we need some minor adjustments made. So our partners at Boeing will make the fix and we will check it again in a couple of weeks. The use of the isopropyl alcohol as a "stand-in" for the real stuff allowed us to check the dynamics of the propellant load in the tests I described last week. Next we will begin some testing to see how electromagnetic radiation (stuff like static) interacts with STARDUST. The flight system continues to show no hardware functional problems as we continue to prepare for the upcoming environmental test.

Outreach: STARDUST Final Name Count: After removal of duplicate names and undesirable/joke words, the name count for the second chip dropped to 1,040,924, and these are now on-line elsewhere on the website. The sorted names were delivered to the laser etching folks this morning, and they are preparing to write the names to the microchip.

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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