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STARDUST Status Report

December 29, 1999

In preparation for the Trajectory Correction Maneuver A (TCM-A), the Sample Return Capsule (SRC) backshell was closed. The backshell would act as a flexible body when the 4.45 Newton thrusters are fired if left in its open position, possibly effecting the Attitude Control Subsystem stability. Therefore the backshell will be closed for all TCM's; however it will not be locked. The backshell will remain closed until late February when the Aerogel Collector is deployed for the first inter-stellar dust collection period.

The Flight Team at Lockheed Martin Astronautics executed TCM-A flawlessly on December 28, with the spacecraft performing an 11 meter/second burn. The burn was performed in an attitude and configuration needed to perform the much larger Deep Space Maneuver-1 (DSM-1) in about 3 weeks. It appears that the maneuver was very accurate and the operational experience gained represents a major risk reduction for performing DSM-1.

The Spacecraft Test Laboratory (STL) testing of the Multi-Firing Flight Software (FSW) patch has started. This patch is scheduled to be installed on the spacecraft on January 3, 2000. After installation, the All-Stellar demonstration will be performed. All-Stellar Mode was successfully demonstrated in October, however, a pre-launch lien (Multi-Firing FSW patch) had not been installed. If all is successful then the transition to All-Stellar Mode will be made on January 5, 2000.

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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