23 May 2003
(Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory)
Stardust Status Report
May 23, 2003
The Stardust team had one period of communications with the spacecraft in the past week. Telemetry relayed from the spacecraft indicates it is healthy and all subsystems continue to operate normally.
A successful nominal Comet Wild 2 encounter test was performed in the Spacecraft Test Laboratory. During the next three weeks the Spacecraft Test Laboratory will run a series of test cases designed to stress the spacecraft's Attitude Control Subsystem. This will be accomplished by simulating dust particle hits (up to 1 centimeter in size) on different parts of Stardust's protective Whipple Shield.
The Stardust project participated with other NASA Solar System missions in the 2003 JPL Open House last weekend. An estimated 24,000 people attended the Open House.
At a recent National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration meeting Stardust's Principle Investigator, Don Brownlee, spoke to over 200 invited guests about the mission. The subject of Brownlee's address was the challenges a 'class 5' solar flare placed on both the Stardust spacecraft and team two years ago.
The Stardust Education and Public Outreach team gave a talk to Disneyland personnel and their families as part of a JPL tour. A cube of aerogel has been on display at Disneyland since 2000.
Stardust Project Manager, Tom Duxbury, was interviewed by Discovery Channel about the STARDUST mission and its use of aerogel for intact particle capture.
Speaking of Stardust, information on the relative positions and orbits of the Stardust spacecraft and comet Wild 2 may be found on the "Where Is Stardust Right Now?" web page located at: http://stardust.jpl.nasa.gov/mission/scnow.html
For more information on the Stardust mission -- the first ever comet sample-return mission -- please visit the Stardust home page: http://stardust.jpl.nasa.gov .