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STARDUST Status Report

May 14, 1999

The Flight Team at Lockheed Martin had only one communication session with the spacecraft during the past week. The spacecraft continues to move further out from the Sun and Earth, being about 1.34 AU from the Sun and having a 1-way light time of 2 minutes 45 seconds, which is increasing by 3 seconds per day. The spacecraft remains in excellent health with all subsystems performing nominally as the spacecraft continues to become colder, with solar power dropping as the spacecraft moves further out in the solar system.

Latches 1 and 2 and the hinge of the Sample Return Capsule (SRC) were released and the SRC opened slightly as planned. High rate attitude telemetry data were received along with the latch and hinge positions to monitor the response of the spacecraft to the SRC opening. All went well. The SRC is now open and will remain open until after Comet Wild 2 flyby in 2004. The aerogel collector will not be deployed until next January, after our large deep space maneuver is completed, to start the interstellar dust collection.

The University of Chicago Dust Flux Monitor Instrument is off and under study to determine the cause of faulty packets being received by Command & Data Handling (C&DH) memory last week. It is expected to take many weeks to study the problem and then produce a command sequence to test possible scenarios to resolve the problem. The JPL Navigation Camera remains off while a problem where the C&DH operating system can invert the priority of tasks is being fixed. This previously lead to Navigation Camera data processing tasks receiving too high of a priority which inundated the flight processor. This task priority inversion problem is shared with the Mars Surveyor 98 operating system. The Max Planck Institute Cometary and Interstellar Dust Analyzer (CIDA) instrument is powered on, facing into the interstellar dust stream and operating nominally. A significant part of the last and next week's communication sessions will be used to transmit down CIDA data.

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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