Stardust-NEXT Mission Status Report
November 14, 2007
On Thursday, November 8, the remainders of the post-bake
Navigation Camera (NAVCAM)
images were received on the ground. The de-fragmentation of the
memory, reducing the memory free list, was performed during the
tracking pass on Friday, November 9. All subsystems are nominal as
Stardust continues its quiescent cruise.
As part of the on-going task of improving attitude control
performance to reduce fuel consumption, a revised dead-band
controller was installed during the Friday track. Early analyses
show an approximate 20% reduction in thruster firings. This trend
will continue to be monitored to verify the initial improvement.
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.