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The Stardust Spacecraft is fortunate to be able to incorporate many spaceflight proven technologies, in its design. Virtually all of the technologies used to create the spacecraft were either already operating in space or were flight qualified for spaceflight before Stardust took advantage of them. Using these existing resources reduced the cost of production and improved the overall quality of the results. Advanced technologies used included polymer composite components and structural subassemblies and electronics systems.

The Stardust mission spacecraft is derived from the SpaceProbe deep space bus developed by Lockheed Martin Astronautics. This lightweight design incorporates silicon solar cell arrays that convert sunlight into electricity to power spacecraft systems.

The total weight of the spacecraft including the propellant needed for deep space maneuvers is 380 kilograms. The overall length of the main bus is roughly 5 feet (1.7 meters), about the size of an average office desk.


Last updated November 4, 2009
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