21 Jun 2002
(Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory)
STARDUST Status Report
There were two Deep Space Network (DSN) tracking passes in the past week and all subsystems are performing normally.
The European Space Agency's new 35-meter (deep space tracking station in Perth, Australia, called New Norcia) performed its first tracking test using Stardust's spacecraft signal. During a normal communications session between the Stardust and the DSN station in Canberra, Australia, the New Norcia station was also successful in detecting and tracking Stardust's signal for 2 hours.
A recent study to determine if Stardust flew closely by any of about 50,000 asteroids during the remainder of its mission found that 1,334 asteroids passed within 0.1 astronomical units (just over 900,000 miles, or 1.5 million kilometers). Of the closest of these encounters, only the Asteroid 5535 Annefrank flyby occurs before Stardust plans to encounter Comet Wild 2. After the Comet Wild 2 flyby in 2004, the Stardust spacecraft will be put into a low maintenance mode until its Earth return in 2006.
For more information on the Stardust mission -- the first ever comet sample return mission -- please visit the Stardust home page.
Where is Stardust now?