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Stardust-NEXT Mission Status Report

August 16, 2007

Artist rendition of Stardust approaching Earth On Monday, August 13th, at 3:39 (MDT) the STARDUST spacecraft responded, as expected, to its first "phone home" commands since February 8, 2007. The spacecraft was on side A with no reboots and all subsystems were excellent and looked like the last time we saw it. After confirming the state of the spacecraft we commanded the spacecraft out of safe mode and back into nominal cruise mode. During the second pass on Thursday, August 16th, the team continued the re-awakening process by sending commands to provide a history of spacecraft activities for the last five months. Preparations for the first background sequence are in progress.

The Stardust-NExT (New Exploration of Tempel 1) mission is to flyby the comet Tempel 1 on February 14, 2011 in order to obtain high resolution images of the coma and nucleus, as well as measurements of the composition, size distribution, and flux of dust emitted into the coma. We have developed a reliable plan to update knowledge of the rotational phase of the comet sufficiently well to have a high probability of viewing significant portions of the hemisphere studied by Deep Impact (DI) in 2005 and a high probability of imaging the crater made by its impactor. The impact event produced so much ejecta that DI did not succeed in imaging the crater.

Last Updated: August 16, 2007
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