22 Jun 2001
(Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory)
The Stardust spacecraft continues in excellent health. There was one Deep Space Network (DSN) tracking pass this past week on June 14, and all subsystems are performing normally.
The Cometary and Interstellar Dust Analyzer (CIDA) instrument continues to observe the interstellar dust stream with an optimal attitude when the spacecraft is not communication with the Earth.
Ten of sixteen encounter Guide Star images, taken on June 8, were downlinked during our pass on June 14. The image quality remains excellent and there is no sign of re-contamination.
Last November's solar flare prompted a re-examination of the impacts if the spacecraft remains in Sun coning for an extended duration. The analysis showed that after approximately fifteen days the Sun could drift off to where maintaining power would be a concern. A new block, correcting this, was sent to the spacecraft during the DSN pass. This block (STU) will determine if the spacecraft is in Sun coning due to safe mode entry. If that is the case, the block will cause re-entry into safe mode after fifteen days, which will result in the Sun knowledge being updated.
The Stardust Outreach Office is in the process of negotiating an Memoranda Of Understanding (MOU) with Space Explorers. Inc. in Green Bay, Wisconsin, for use of aerogel in the upcoming November launch of the Space Shuttle to the Space Station. Aerogel will be used as insulation in an electronic cooling device that will allow 600 to 700 students from Chicago and Wisconsin areas to conduct biological experiments.
Stardust Outreach also attended and supported the 2001 Travis Air Show at Travis Air Fore Base in Vacaville, California from June 15 - 17th. Approximately 200,000 were in attendance at the air show.
The San Gabriel Valley Boy Scouts have selected the Stardust spacecraft and mission as the best representation of their area chapter. The group developed an arm patch for their uniform that will be "traded" at the National Jamboree in July in Washington DC, in which 40,000 boy scouts from throughout the United States will participate. Area troops will conduct presentations on the Stardust mission to local and state chapters.
Stardust was recently contacted by Nike Corp. regarding uses of aerogel. Nike is considering exploring the possibilities of using aerogel in products as an insulator. Terrance Mason of the Commericalization Office and Steve Jones are meeting with Nike development personnel to discuss possibilities.
For more information on the Stardust mission - the first ever comet sample return mission - please visit the Stardust home page: