STARDUST Status Report
July 9, 1999
Recent communications with the STARDUST spacecraft by Lockheed Martin
Astronautics (LMA) shows that all subsystems continue to perform well.
Spacecraft commanding included changing the contents of a few telemetry
packets and also changing production rates to maximize information
content of the telemetry.
Development and testing of the Flight Software patches for All-Stellar
Attitude control mode by the Star Camera as well as the task priority
inversion are going well and it is expected that STARDUST will be in
All-Stellar Mode as well as taking Navigation Camera images in
approximately one month.
Discussion between LMA, JPL and the supplier of the Sold State Power
Amplifiers (SSPA's) verified that STARDUST has been properly powering
off the SSPA's between usage. Leaving the SSPA powered on much longer
could have potentially permanently degraded its performance by 2-3 dB
for the remainder of the mission. It is believed that the SSPA's will
perform in their high gain state, without the 2-3 dB degradation,
during our communication passes which typically last 4 - 5 hours. The
project will revisit the use of the SSPA's when communication passes
become longer than 16 hours, such as at the Comet Wild 2 flyby in 2004
and the Earth return in 2006, to ensure proper maintenance.
For more information on the STARDUST mission - the first ever comet sample
return mission - please visit the STARDUST home page: