National Aeronautics and Space Administration Logo
Follow this link to skip to the main content NASA Banner
Solar System Exploration
News & Events
Stardust Mission Status
Stardust Mission Status
11 Feb 1999
(Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory)

PASADENA, CALIF. 91109. TELEPHONE (818) 354-5011

NASA's Stardust spacecraft, successfully launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida on Feb. 7, remains in excellent health with all systems normal as it forges ahead on its mission to Comet Wild-2.

The Stardust mission operations team reported that the Delta II launch was so well-targeted that barely any adjustment will be required during the mission's first scheduled trajectory adjustment on Feb. 22.

Tracked through the large antennas of NASA's global Deep Space Network, Stardust passed beyond the orbit of the Moon on Monday, Feb. 8. The spacecraft is now more than 1,608,000 kilometers (nearly 1 million miles) from Earth, traveling on a long trajectory that will carry it through a stream of interstellar dust on its way to an encounter with Comet Wild-2 on Jan. 2, 2004.

Stardust's objectives are to gather particles flying off the nucleus of Comet Wild-2 and return them to Earth for scientific analysis, and to collect and return samples of interstellar dust flowing through our solar system. Stardust is the first spacecraft ever launched on a mission to bring back material from outside the Earth-Moon system. It is also the first U.S. mission to a comet. Stardust's sample return capsule is due to parachute into Earth's atmosphere and land on the U.S. military's Utah Test and Training Range near Salt Lake City on Jan. 15, 2006.

In the next two weeks, the Stardust mission operations team expects to turn on Stardust's dust flux monitor instrument, provided by the University of Chicago, and the comet and interstellar dust analyzer, provided by Germany's Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics.

Stardust, built and operated by Lockheed Martin Astronautics, Denver, Colorado, is managed for NASA by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California.

News Archive Search  Go!
Show  results per page
Awards and Recognition   Solar System Exploration Roadmap   Contact Us   Site Map   Print This Page
NASA Official: Kristen Erickson
Advisory: Dr. James Green, Director of Planetary Science
Outreach Manager: Alice Wessen
Curator/Editor: Phil Davis
Science Writers: Courtney O'Connor and Bill Dunford
Producer: Greg Baerg
Webmaster: David Martin
> NASA Science Mission Directorate
> Budgets, Strategic Plans and Accountability Reports
> Equal Employment Opportunity Data
   Posted Pursuant to the No Fear Act
> Information-Dissemination Policies and Inventories
> Freedom of Information Act
> Privacy Policy & Important Notices
> Inspector General Hotline
> Office of the Inspector General
> NASA Communications Policy
> NASA Advisory Council
> Open Government at NASA
Last Updated: 11 Mar 2014