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STARDUST Status Report

January 15, 2001

Early this morning, the STARDUST spacecraft successfully completed its first solar orbit when it flew by the Earth. Closest approach distance was approximately 6007.64 kilometers (3719 miles) at approximately 11:14.28 UTC (04:14.28 MST, 03:14.28 PST). The Deep Space Network (DSN) at Canberra was able to track the spacecraft until the end of its track at 11:00 UTC. The Goldstone DSN complex acquired the spacecraft's signal at 12:30 UTC as predicted. No coverage was possible between 11:00 and 12:30 as the spacecraft was below the elevation limits of the DSN. All subsystems performance are normal. The thermal subsystem reports that all temperatures are slightly lower than predicted.

Later today, the commands for the navigation camera (NAVCAM) to take images of the Moon will be transmitted to the spacecraft. The first of twenty-five images will be taken later today. These images are being taken to provide calibration data for the navigation camera.

Astronomers from California, Hawaii and Australia have reported successful observations of the spacecraft during the Earth flyby, and images of the spacecraft will be placed on the STARDUST home page as they become available.

For more information on the STARDUST mission - the first ever comet sample return mission - please visit the STARDUST home page:

Last Updated: November 26, 2003
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