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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 Administrator.

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:

Last Updated: November 26, 2003
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