22 Nov 2002
(Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory)
STARDUST Status Report
Where is Stardust now? Stardust has returned to normal cruise operations after its flyby of asteroid Annefrank earlier this month. The spacecraft is healthy and performing well. A trajectory correction maneuver that had been tentatively scheduled for after the asteroid flyby will not be performed, as the spacecraft is so well on course and no adjustment is needed.
Stardust continues to collect interstellar dust particles. The position of the aerogel grid used for catching the dust particles was changed to keep the grid perpendicular to the dust flow.
The Stardust flight team had one period of communication with the spacecraft through an antenna of JPL's Deep Space Network this week. As part of a technology demonstration, a New Mexico antenna of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory's Very Long Baseline Array successfully received a Stardust downlink signal. Additional tests may lead to the use of the Very Long Baseline Array as a new resource for navigational tracking of NASA missions.
For more information on the Stardust mission -- the first ever comet sample return mission -- please visit the Stardust home page.