STARDUST Status Report
May 3, 1999
The STARDUST spacecraft continues to perform well. The spacecraft
is currently 41 million kilometers (24 million miles) from the Earth,
and traveling at a speed of 103,000 kilometers/hour (61,000 miles/hour)
relative to the Sun. STARDUST has traveled over 243 million kilometers
(143 million miles) since its launch on a Delta 2 rocket on
February 7, 1999.
Lockheed Martin Astronautics testing of the Solid State Power Amplifier
(SSPA) temperature variation continues and its root cause is now
suspected to be related to charged particles which are predicted to
dissipate if we power cycle the SSPA. We are considering power cycling
the SSPA this week. The payload instruments continue to require ground
interaction. The University of Chicago Dust Flux Monitor Instrument
(DFMI), which had been performing flawlessly for over 1 month,
experienced bit pattern problems in its downlink last week. DFMI
was powered down and the telemetry data is being studied in detail
to determine the problem origin (DFMI, flight software, downlink, etc.).
The Max Planck Institute (MPI) Cometary and Interstellar Dust Analyzer (CIDA)
stopped sending housekeeping information last week after successfully
sending this information for the previous week. CIDA was commanded to
its low, intermediate and high threshold states without success in attempts
to produce new housekeeping telemetry. MPI believes that power cycling
CIDA will reset it back to its proper operating mode. The JPL
Navigation Camera remains off.
We are in sequence SC004 (STARDUST Cruise 004) and performed a major
spacecraft attitude adjustment on April 30 to accommodate solar opposition,
where the Earth has recently overpassed the spacecraft in their heliocentric
orbits. The spacecraft was rotated 180 degrees around the sun line, and
this orientation allows the DFMI and CIDA instruments to face into the
interstellar dust stream. Both payload instruments will be powered back on
early this week.
Tom Duxbury co-chaired the Small Bodies and Dust Session at the
European Geophysical Society 24th General Assembly in The Hague,
Netherlands, which was held from April 19-23. Duxbury also presented
an invited STARDUST talk titled: "The Adventure Has Begun".
For more information on the STARDUST mission - the first ever comet sample
return mission - please visit the STARDUST home page: