12 Jul 2002
(Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory)
STARDUST Status Report
Where is Stardust now?
There was one Deep Space Network tracking pass (downlink only) this past week, and all subsystems are normal. One planned communications pass was given to NASA's CONTOUR mission to support initial mission launch operations. A second communications session became downlink-only when the ground system went down because of a power interruption. Because commands could not be sent during this pass, the spacecraft has not been commanded for 14 days. The spacecraft is programmed to automatically go into safe mode if no commands are received for 17 days. The 17 day period was chosen based upon scenarios similar to what just occurred. An additional short DSN pass is now scheduled this weekend just to send a command that will reset the command loss timer, preventing the spacecraft from entering safe mode.
Commands for testing the motion of the navigation camera's mirror at low rates are in development and will be sent to the spacecraft next week.
Project personnel were interviewed for a Discover magazine article. On Thursday July 11, NASA TV hosted live satellite interviews with project manager Tom Duxbury and aerogel scientist Peter Tsou -- who spoke in the first Chinese-language live shot in JPL history.
For more information on the Stardust mission -- the first ever comet sample return mission -- please visit the Stardust home page.