STARDUST Status Report
STARDUST Project Manager
The Assembly, Test and Launch Operations (ATLO) team focused on spacecraft functional
testing in the thermal vacuum chamber
prior to thermal vacuum testing. The first cold cycle in the
chamber was terminated just
before achieving balance because of a failure of a switch in the
equipment which took the spacecraft battery off-line and prevented
power operation. This caused a return to ambient pressure and opening
chamber. Although cold thermal balance was not complete, sufficient
information was collected showing the internal spacecraft was running
colder than predicted, largely due to lower power dissipation in the
Control Assembly (PCA) and the Command & Data Handling unit (C&DH).
radiating area outside the PCA and C&DH was reconfigured and reduced.
Subsequent tests at high temperatures in the chamber also
indicated that a reduced radiating area on the
spacecraft is appropriate. The net result of
tests at this point is that we believe the
spacecraft will require less power when it is operating at aphelion --
Stardust's most distant point from the Sun. This means that we will have
a larger power margin on the spacecraft at that time.
been returned to the chamber and pump-down to create the
vacuum environment is in progress. The flight
system continues to show no hardware functional problems.
The STARDUST mission animation video has attracted a lot of interest and
a great summary of what the mission will do. The film has been
rave reviews from all audiences who have seen it. It has now been
converted into Quicktime format, and is available on the Web at: