The Stardust Spacecraft is fortunate
to be able to incorporate many spaceflight proven technologies,
in its design. Virtually all of the technologies used
to create the spacecraft were either already operating
in space or were flight qualified for spaceflight before
Stardust took advantage of them. Using these existing
resources reduced the cost of production and improved
the overall quality of the results. Advanced technologies
used included polymer composite components and structural
subassemblies and electronics systems.
The Stardust mission spacecraft is derived from the
SpaceProbe deep space bus developed by Lockheed Martin
Astronautics. This lightweight design incorporates silicon
solar cell arrays that convert sunlight into electricity
to power spacecraft systems.
The total weight of the spacecraft including the propellant
needed for deep space maneuvers is 380 kilograms. The
overall length of the main bus is roughly 5 feet (1.7
meters), about the size of an average office desk.
Last updated November 4, 2009