14 Nov 2003
(Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory)
Stardust Status Report
November 14, 2003
The Stardust team had six periods of communications with the spacecraft in the past week. Telemetry relayed from the spacecraft remains in very good shape as it approaches its date with Comet Wild 2.
Over the past week, the spacecraft's first approach optical navigation images were taken. From now until December these images will be taken twice a week, then their frequency will increase until after encounter. Though Comet Wild 2 is not expected to make an appearance in these early images, they will be used to test planning, commanding, downlink telemetry and ground processing of Stardust images.
The Stardust navigation camera took two long exposure star images recently. They were taken using two different shutter open modes. The images indicate both shutter modes are working perfectly and providing star images down to 11th visual magnitude. The latest image taken using the camera's calibration lamp was not successful. The Stardust science team is reviewing the need for a Calibration Lamp image before encounter.
In preparation for Stardust's Comet Wild 2 Flyby, Wild 2 Flyby Critical Events Readiness Reviews were successfully completed with Navigation, with the Deep Space Mission Systems and with the Multi Mission Office Ground Data System.
Information on the present position 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.