STARDUST Status Report
11 May 2001
(Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory)
There was one Deep Space Network (DSN) tracking pass this past week and all subsystems are performing normally.
The weekly Navigation Camera (NAVCAM) images taken while the camera was cold (with the heaters off) were successfully taken on Monday May 7, and showed no degradation in quality from their previous improvement.
The Cometary and Interstellar Dust Analyzer (CIDA) continues to observe the interstellar dust stream with an optimal spacecraft attitude when not in communication with Earth. The principal investigator for CIDA has requested that the instrument be returned to its positive ion mode. Sufficient data has been collected in the negative ion mode to provide a comparison between the two modes. The instrument will remain in the positive mode for the remainder of this interstellar collection period.
Preparations are underway to take images of the two guide stars that will be used for optical navigation on approach to the encounter with Comet Wild-2. On June 4th, the spacecraft will be in the same position as it will be during the Wild-2 encounter in December 2003. The spacecraft's +X axis will be pointed in the direction of the guide stars, and will take several images through the periscope for analysis of the camera performance. The spacecraft will then be commanded to take images of the guide stars off the periscope. The quality of the two sets of images will be compared, to determine the best method to perform optical navigation during the approach to Wild-2.
The project held its quarterly review with JPL and NASA management and reported that the project status was excellent.
The Stardust Outreach team is planning the Stardust team's participation in the JPL Open House, which will be May 19 and 20.
For more information on the Stardust mission - the first ever comet sample return mission - please visit the Stardust home page: