STARDUST Status Report
June 4, 1999
Two communications sessions were executed with the STARDUST spacecraft
during the last week including a pass on Saturday. The spacecraft
remains operating nominally with the Solid State Power Amplifier (SSPA)
still showing small performance variations believed to be caused by
trapped charged particles. The Flight Team at Lockheed Martin Astronautics
(LMA) exerted extra efforts to command the Max Planck Institute Cometary and
Interstellar Dust Analyzer (CIDA) back into its nominal operational
mode after CIDA rebooted itself over a week ago. Along with
commanding CIDA during the pass, downlink telemetry data indicated
a new particle detection which is being analyzed by the international
CIDA Science Team. It was important to put CIDA in its operational
mode since the time left for CIDA facing into the interstellar dust
stream on this leg of the trajectory is less than 1 month.
Analysis of the University of Chicago Dust Flux Monitor Instrument
(DFMI) continues where tests were run on the Engineering Unit which
was made to go into a "galloping" output mode by lowering the input
voltage to within 1 volt of the lowest converted output. However
initial tests could not produce a "galloping" power converter output
mode by varying load and temperature, although a very high temperature
(>100 C - well outside the normal operating range) did cause the power
converter to stop operating. More detailed studies are being performed
through mid next week.
The STARDUST Outreach team and the Project Office has expended significant
efforts to support the JPL Open House this weekend.
The STARDUST Project Manager, Dr. Kenneth L. Atkins, was presented the
NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal by Mr. Daniel Goldin, NASA
Expected progress continues in the areas of all stellar attitude mode
and testing of the High Gain Antenna during the next two months.
For more information on the STARDUST mission - the first ever comet sample
return mission - please visit the STARDUST home page: