Stardust-NEXT Mission Status Report
August 16, 2007
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.