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STARDUST Status Report

October 15, 1999

The STARDUST spacecraft continues to perform normally in cruise sequence SC010. The flight team at Lockheed Martin Astronautics (LMA) had multiple communications sessions with the spacecraft during the past week with successful tests with All-Stellar mode, first in a Dual Mode and then in a Stand-alone mode. In Dual Mode, both the IMU's (Intertial Measurement Unit) and Star Camera are producing attitude knowledge and control data, but the IMU is controlling the spacecraft attitude. This mode is used to validate that the attitude position and angular rate information produced by the Star Camera are consistent with the IMU-produced data. In Stand-alone mode, the Star Camera controls the spacecraft attitude. Both tests went very well, and after detailed analyses of the telemetry data from these tests are completed within a month or so, the spacecraft will be ready to go to All-Stellar attitude knowledge and control as the normal attitude mode.

A detailed calibration of the Low Gain Antenna (LGA) with the spacecraft being over 2 Astronomical Units from the Earth was also completed successfully. In this test, the LGA was off-pointed from Earth at a wide range of angles to measure the signal strength throughout this off-pointing angle range. The results of this calibration will be used to predict the communications link performance in any of the LGA pointing orientations expected during the remainder of the mission.

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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