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STARDUST Status Report

September 17, 1999

The STARDUST spacecraft continues to operate normally and entered cruise sequence SC009 early this week. The spacecraft is about 2 AU (about 186 million miles or 300 million kilometers) from both the Earth and Sun. There was a successful Kickoff Meeting for cruise sequence SC010 where a consensus was reached on the planned activities.

The Flight Team at Lockheed Martin Astronautics (LMA) turned on the German-supplied Max Planck Institute Cometary and Interplanetary Dust Analyzer (CIDA) and the University of Chicago Dust Flux Monitor Instrument (DFMI). CIDA is operating nominally and remains in its cruise configuration. The DFMI operated properly in its calibration mode and encounter mode for about 45 minutes when it began exhibiting a behavior associated with an off-nominal power converter performance. DFMI was commanded off and will be studied to determine which operational modes are possible for the duration of the mission.

The STARDUST Ground Data System (GDS), provided and maintained by the Mars Surveyor Operations Project (MSOP), continues to work flawlessly. The GDS has, since the beginning of the project, provided all needed capabilities to support spacecraft commanding, the downlink of telemetry data and the health and safety monitoring of the spacecraft and subsystems including the science payload instruments.

The Navigation Camera re-test sequence is being tested in the Spacecraft Test Laboratory using the Software Simulation (SoftSim) for the Navigation Camera in preparation for taking star images within the next week or so.

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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