- Press Release
- August 17, 2022
Stardust Status Report 22 June 2001
The Stardust spacecraft continues in excellent health. There was
one Deep Space Network (DSN) tracking pass this past week on June 14,
and all subsystems are performing normally.
The Cometary and Interstellar Dust Analyzer (CIDA) instrument
continues to observe the interstellar dust stream with an optimal
attitude when the spacecraft is not communication with the
Ten of sixteen encounter Guide Star images, taken on June 8, were
downlinked during our pass on June 14. The image quality remains
excellent and there is no sign of re-contamination.
Last November’s solar flare prompted a re-examination of the impacts
if the spacecraft remains in Sun coning for an extended duration. The
analysis showed that after approximately fifteen days the Sun could
drift off to where maintaining power would be a concern. A new block,
correcting this, was sent to the spacecraft during the DSN pass. This
block (STU) will determine if the spacecraft is in Sun coning due to
safe mode entry. If that is the case, the block will cause re-entry
into safe mode after fifteen days, which will result in the Sun
knowledge being updated.
The Stardust Outreach Office is in the process of negotiating an
Memoranda Of Understanding (MOU) with Space Explorers. Inc. in Green
Bay, Wisconsin, for use of aerogel in the upcoming November launch of the
Space Shuttle to the Space Station. Aerogel will
be used as insulation in an electronic cooling device that will allow
600 to 700 students from Chicago and Wisconsin areas to conduct
Stardust Outreach also attended and supported the 2001 Travis Air
Show at Travis Air Fore Base in Vacaville, California from
June 15 – 17th. Approximately 200,000 were in attendance at the air show.
The San Gabriel Valley Boy Scouts have selected the Stardust
spacecraft and mission as the best representation of their area
chapter. The group developed an arm patch for their uniform that will
be “traded” at the National Jamboree in July in Washington DC, in
which 40,000 boy scouts from throughout the United States will
participate. Area troops will conduct presentations on the Stardust
mission to local and state chapters.
Stardust was recently contacted by Nike Corp. regarding uses of
aerogel. Nike is considering exploring the possibilities of using
aerogel in products as an insulator. Terrance Mason of the
Commericalization Office and Steve Jones are meeting with Nike
development personnel to discuss possibilities.
For more information on the Stardust mission — the first ever comet sample
return mission — please visit the Stardust home page: