Status Report

Stardust Status Report September 6, 2002

By SpaceRef Editor
September 6, 2002
Filed under , ,

All subsystems were performing normally during the spacecraft’s
one scheduled period of contact through the Deep Space Network in
the past week.

Mirror alignment for the Navigation Camera was calibrated, using
new software for pattern-matching and selecting small windows of
interest within larger fields of view. A total of 23 images were
taken for the calibration. Five are full-frame images and 18 are
pattern-matched and windowed images. Playback will be completed
next week. The windowed images were taken at 10-degree steps of
mirror pointing, up to 180 degrees. Indications are that the
full-frame images were successful. Some of the windowed images
may not have included enough stars for the pattern-matching to
work. Star images may have been too dim or too smeared to be
detected at the brightness threshold set by the software. Enough
of the windowed images will be successful to help engineers
understand the camera performance and assess what detection
threshold level to set in the future.

Representatives of the Genesis Project and of the Utah Test and
Training Range met for an annual planning update. This military
range is where Genesis will return its collected sample material
to Earth in September 2004. The meeting’s participants discussed
operations prior to and during Earth entry, tracking during Earth
entry and landing, handling of the return capsule at the recovery
site and preparation of the capsule at a hanger for aircraft
delivery to the Johnson Space Center Curatorial Facility in Texas.
The collected particles will be analyzed and curated at the
Johnson facility. The Utah Test and Training Range is under high
security, and maintaining the integrity of the sample-return
capsule is an absolute necessity, so accommodating anyone other
than key personnel near the capsule will be difficult.

For more information on the Stardust mission — the first ever
comet sample return mission — please visit the Stardust
home page:

SpaceRef staff editor.