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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:

Last Updated: November 26, 2003
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