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NASA Stardust Status Report December 19, 2003

Status Report From: Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Posted: Friday, December 19, 2003

image The Stardust team has had daily communications with the spacecraft in the past week. Telemetry relayed from the spacecraft remains in very good shape as it approaches its date with Comet Wild 2 in about 13 days.

The Comet Wild 2 encounter attitude control mode that uses the primary and secondary thrusters to keep the spacecraft behind the protective Whipple Shield was successfully tested in the Spacecraft Test Laboratory and then in flight on the spacecraft.

Daily optical navigation images are being taken in support of the spacecraft's upcoming encounter.

While Comet Wild 2 has been in the spacecraft's sights since Nov. 19, the comet was successfully observed from Earth for the first time since it went behind the sun last spring by Dr. Alan Tokunaga at the Infrared Telescope Facility in Hawaii.

Information on the present position and orbits of the Stardust spacecraft and comet Wild 2 may be found on the "Where Is Stardust Right Now?" web page located at:

http://stardust.jpl.nasa.gov/mission/scnow.html

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

http://stardust.jpl.nasa.gov .

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