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STARDUST Status Report

September 4, 1998


Ken Atkins
STARDUST Project Manager

The Assembly, Test, and Launch Operations (ATLO) team completed installation of the thermocouples for the upcoming System Thermal Vacuum (STV) test we've be talking about for several weeks. Part of the preparation also included installation of special insulation blankets to protect STARDUST components against the cold of space.

Last week, you'll recall I mentioned the electromagnetic interference (EMI) and stray voltage testing. To help explain that a little better, one of our correspondents suggests the following: a common example of EMI is the fuzz on a television screen caused by an electric razor nearby. The results of the EMI test mean that there will be no such interference among the various power and data signals on board. Similar results in the stray voltage tests assured that there are no "sneak paths" on board for electrical power to reach unintended locations on the spacecraft. "Stray" voltage like that could cause improper operation of instruments or relays. (A stray voltage in your car, for example, could cause your fuel gauge to read improperly, or your power window to quit working.) I hope this helps make some of the testing jargon a little easier to understand.

The STARDUST team is working hard and holding schedule very well for meeting the date at Cape Canaveral with the Delta II rocket. Everyone is pleased the flight system continues to show no hardware functional problems going into environmental testing.

Launch Vehicle: One the other news front, Boeing's Delta III failure investigation has determined no technical commonalities that preclude continuation of the Delta II launch schedule. The next Delta II launch is scheduled for September 8. Seven Delta II launches are scheduled ahead of STARDUST.

Outreach: Translation of the Stardust "Send Your Name" list to the silicon chip has been completed. I'm sure you'll be seeing lots (pictures and info on the web site) about the process of how that was done. It still is fascinating to think we can put over a million names on a chip the size of your fingernail! Talk about "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids!" Wow!

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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