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Stardust-NEXT Mission Status Report

October 3, 2007

Artist rendition of Stardust approaching Earth Stardust is continuing its quiescent cruise and all subsystems are nominal as preparations for the Deep Space Maneuver (DSM) continue. The DSM is approximately 3.5 m/s burn with the sun edge-on to the solar panels on the -Y side of the spacecraft. This burn attitude means there will be no real-time communications possible however the telemetry will be recorded and played back when communication is re-established when the spacecraft returns to its nominal earth-point attitude. The maneuver execution starts at 9 am (MDT) on Wednesday, October 10.

Planning for the first de-contamination of the Navigation Camera is in development. As was done during the Stardust mission we will rotate the spacecraft to place the sun on the bottom side in order to raise the CCD temperature to about 27 degrees C.

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: October 3, 2007
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