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STARDUST Status Report

September 11, 1998


Ken Atkins
STARDUST Project Manager

The Assembly, Test and Launch Operations (ATLO) team completed installation of the remaining multilayer insulation (MLI) blankets on the spacecraft for the system thermal-vacuum (STV) test. Recall that this upcoming test will subject the flight system to the vacuum and temperatures we expect it to encounter in flight. The team also completed some testing of the functional performance of the spacecraft by sending commands and checking the responses. Tests were also run to check the flight system's ability to automatically handle problems. Sample "faults" are set up to ensure the system will place itself in a "safe" condition where ground controllers will be able to help clear up the problem. Another important check this week was to validate the mating of the spacecraft with the launch rocket's payload adapter. After these tests and checks, the flight system and its electronic ground support equipment were moved to the thermal vacuum chamber in preparation for the STV test. The flight system continues to show no hardware functional problems.

It was also an important week for our launch partners. Boeing successfully launched a Delta 2 rocket carrying five replacement satellites for the Iridium telecommunications constellation. The launch was from Space Launch Complex-2 West at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. It was the first for Boeing since the Delta 3 rocket failed during its maiden launch two weeks ago.

Outreach: Our outreach team continued working to get the STARDUST adventure out to students by holding an educational partners workshop in Florida.

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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