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Mission Information

MISSION_NAME STARDUST
MISSION_NAME_OR_ALIAS N/A
MISSION_START_DATE 1999-02-07
MISSION_STOP_DATE 2006-01-16
MISSION_DESCRIPTION
 
      The descriptions given here were originally copied from the
      ``Stardust Mission Plan' document and its addenda (used with
      permission from the Stardust project).  To reflect the
      completion of the primary mission, the information has been
      updated by Tony Farnham using the weekly status reports, press
      releases and informational bulletins released by the Stardust
      mission.
 
 
    Mission Overview
    ================
      The primary science goal of the STARDUST mission was to collect
      Wild 2 coma samples, plus bonus interstellar dust samples, in
      aerogel, and return them to Earth.  On January 2, 2004, the
      spacecraft successfully flew by the comet, obtaining dust
      samples that were returned to the Earth on January 15, 2006.
      Additional science return was obtained in the form of images of
      the comet coma and nucleus obtained with the NAVCAM, in situ dust
      composition measurements obtained with the Comet and
      Interstellar Dust Analyzer (CIDA) and dust impact counts from
      the Dust Flux Monitor (DFMI).
 
      Trajectory
      ----------
 
        The STARDUST mission was designed for a low velocity (6.1
        km/s) flyby of comet Wild 2 during a time when the comet was
        moderately active (at a heliocentric distance of 1.9 AU).  The
        spacecraft was then designed to have a low energy Earth
        returning trajectory so that dust samples obtained at the
        comet could safely be returned to Earth.
 
        The launch on February 7 1999 put Stardust into a two year
        orbit, which would bring it back to Earth for a gravitational
        assist in 2001.  Deep Space Maneuver #1 (DSM1), broken into
        three separate burns, was executed on January 18, 20 and 22,
        2000, when Stardust was near aphelion.  This maneuver imparted
        a 170 m/s deterministic delta-V to set up the orbit for the
        Earth flyby, which occurred on January 15, 2001.  The Earth
        flyby increased the spacecraft's semi-major axis so that
        Stardust could reach comet Wild 2.  The new orbit had a 2.5
        year period.  A small, 2.65 m/s, deep space maneuver (DSM2)
        was executed on January 24, 2002 to correct for minor
        trajectory errors from the previous Earth flyby.  On June
        17-18, 2003, the third deep space maneuver (DSM3) was
        performed to properly target Wild 2.  It imparted a Delta-V
        of 69 m/s.  On January 2, 2004, Stardust encountered Comet
        Wild 2 (98.5 days after the comet's perihelion passage),
        passing at a distance of 237 km.  The last deep space
        maneuver, DSM4, was performed in the first week of February
        2004.  It was a small maneuver (5 m/s) and adjusted the orbit
        to target the spacecraft back to Earth so the Sample Return
        Capsule could reenter the atmosphere and parachute to the
        recovery site in Utah.
 
 
      Asteroid 5535 Annefrank Encounter
      ----------------------------------
 
        On November 2, 2002 04:50:20 UTC, Stardust encountered the
        asteroid 5535 Annefrank.  The encounter distance was 3079 km
        and the solar phase angle ranged from 130 deg to 47 degrees
        during the period of observations.  This encounter was used as
        an engineering test of the spacecraft and ground operations in
        preparation for the encounter with comet Wild 2.
 
 
      Comet Encounter
      ---------------
 
        On January 2, 2004, 19:21:28 UTC, Stardust encountered Comet
        Wild 2 (98.5 days after the comet's perihelion passage).  The
        spacecraft passed the comet on the sunward side with a
        relative velocity of 6.1 km/sec.  The closest approach
        distance was 237 km (+/- 1km).  (The original encounter
        distance was planned to be 150 km, but this was changed after
        a safety review board decided to increase the closest approach
        distance to minimize the potential for catastrophic dust
        collisions.)
 
        The relative velocity between the comet and the spacecraft was
        such that the comet actually overtook the spacecraft from
        behind as they traveled around the Sun.  During the encounter,
        the spacecraft was on the sun-lit side of the nucleus,
        approaching at a solar phase angle of 70 degrees, reaching a
        minimum angle of 3 degrees near closest approach and departing
        at a phase angle of 110 degrees.
 
 
      Interstellar Dust Collection
      ----------------------------
 
        The interstellar dust particle (ISP) collection periods
        occurred near the first and second aphelion portions of the
        spacecraft's orbit, when the relative velocity between the
        spacecraft and the ISP streams is at a minimum.  In addition
        to the favorable velocity alignment, these collection periods
        are further defined by the need to avoid large off-Sun
        pointing of the solar panels, collection of beta meteoroids,
        and deep space maneuvers.
 
        The first ISP collection period lasted from February 22
        through May 1, 2000.  The second collection period was from
        August 5 through December 9, 2002.  Although the opportunity
        existed for additional ISP collection on the third orbit, this
        would have been after the Wild 2 encounter, and it was decided
        that it was undesirable to re-open the SRC after the comet
        encounter.
 
 
      In Situ Particle Analysis
      -------------------------
 
        CIDA and DFMI experiments were executed at every available
        opportunity during the mission. The main constraints on their
        operation were the availability of spacecraft power and
        conflicts with other mission activities. Prime experiment
        periods were defined as those where the interstellar particle
        (ISP) streams are oriented to fall within the CIDA
        field-of-view.
 
      Earth Return
      ------------
 
        On January 15, 2006 the Sample Return Capsule (SRC)
        successfully separated from the Stardust spacecraft.  After
        separation, the spacecraft executed a divert maneuver that put
        it into a heliocentric orbit, while the SRC re-entered the
        Earth's atmosphere and parachuted to the ground.  The SRC was
        recovered at the Utah Test and Training Range (UTTR) and
        transported to the staging area at UTTR for the retrieval of
        the sample canister.  The canister was then transported to the
        planetary materials curatorial facility at Johnson Space
        Center in Houston.
 
 
    Mission Phases
    ==============
 
      Six mission phases were originally defined for significant
      spacecraft activity periods. These were the Launch, Cruise 1,
      Earth Gravity Assist, Cruise 2, Wild 2 Encounter, Cruise 3,
      and Earth Return. One more mission phase -- Annefrank
      Encounter, -- completely nested inside the Cruise 2 phase was
      added in 2002 when the asteroid flyby was approved
      as a full scale Wild 2 encounter test.
 
      LAUNCH
      ------
 
        Mission Phase Start Time       : 1999-02-07
        Mission Phase Stop Time        : 1999-03-08
 
        The launch phase began as the launch vehicle lifted-off and
        ended with the completion of the activation and checkout of
        most of the spacecraft subsystems. Included in this phase
        were spacecraft separation from the launch vehicle,
        establishment of attitude and communications, tracking of the
        spacecraft and the execution of the first trajectory
        correction maneuver (TCM-1) to correct the injection error.
        The duration of this phase was 30 days.
 
      CRUISE 1
      --------
 
        Mission Phase Start Time       : 1999-03-08
        Mission Phase Stop Time        : 2000-11-14
 
        The Cruise 1 phase of the first part of the STARDUST mission,
        nearly six years long, was a period of relatively low
        activity.  This part spanned from launch through the Earth
        flyby. Within this phase are embedded the first ISP collection
        period and the CIDA and DFMI experiments. The ISP collection
        period during this phase of the mission started 380 days after
        launch and continued for 69 days.
 
 
      EARTH GRAVITY ASSIST
      --------------------
 
        Mission Phase Start Time       : 2000-11-14
        Mission Phase Stop Time        : 2001-02-14
 
        The Earth flyby was performed primarily to provide a gravity
        assist to the STARDUST spacecraft thus reducing the delta-V
        requirements of the mission. The flyby changed the orbital
        period from 2 years to about 2.5 years. The spacecraft
        approached Earth from the dark side with a velocity of 6.5
        km/s and receded back into the dark side having flown by the
        sunward side at a closest approach altitude of
        6008 km. During the flyby the Sun-Earth-spacecraft angle cycled
        from ~130 degrees to ~28 degrees at closest approach to a
        minimum of ~19 degrees (8 minutes after closest approach) and
        back up to ~90 degrees toward the end of the EGA phase. The
        Earth flyby time was 15 January 2001 11:14:28 UTC.
 
 
      CRUISE 2
      --------
 
        Mission Phase Start Time       : 2001-02-14
        Mission Phase Stop Time        : 2003-09-24
 
        The Cruise 2 phase was the second part of cruise, spanning the
        time between the Earth flyby and the Wild 2 encounter. Within
        this phase are embedded the second ISP collection period and
        the CIDA and DFMI experiments. The ISP collection period
        during this phase of the mission started 1275 days after
        launch and continued for 126 days.
 
      ANNEFRANK ENCOUNTER
      -------------------
 
        Mission Phase Start Time       : 2002-10-31
        Mission Phase Stop Time        : 2002-11-05
 
        This phase was the part of the mission, during which STARDUST
        flew by the S-type, main belt asteroid Annefrank. The
        Annefrank flyby occured with just over one month (out of four)
        remaining in the second ISP collection period and was fully
        embedded with Cruise 2 phase of the mission.
 
        This encounter was not present in the original mission plan and
        was added in 2002 as a full scale Wild 2 encounter test.
        The main objective and supporting rationale for this test was
        to implement the entire Wild 2 encounter sequence in flight
        at Annefrank.
 
        The spacecraft flew past Annefrank on 2 November 2002 at
        4:51:20 UTC at a closest approach distance of 3079 km.  The
        imaging sequence encompassed a solar phase angle range from
        130 deg to 47 deg.
 
 
      WILD 2 ENCOUNTER
      ----------------
 
        Mission Phase Start Time       : 2003-09-24
        Mission Phase Stop Time        : 2004-02-21
 
        The most important mission phase of STARDUST ranged from 100
        days before the encounter with comet Wild 2 to 50 days after.
        Encounter occurred on January 2, 2004, 19:21:28 UTC.
 
        The primary goal of obtaining comet coma samples during the
        encounter flyby was accomplished by a navigation plan that
        delivered the spacecraft to a close approach distance of 237
        km from the nucleus.  Near the closest encounter, the
        spacecraft +x-axis was aligned with the S/C velocity vector
        relative to Wild 2 so that the dust shield protected the
        S/C. In this flyby configuration, the Earth was located in the
        direction of the spacecraft +z-axis (also HGA direction). The
        spacecraft approached Wild 2 from above and receded below the
        comet's orbit plane.
 
        Although the collection of cometary dust samples was the
        primary goal of the mission, it is totally passive, enabled by
        deployment of the aerogel collector and the setting of the
        spacecraft / collector attitude perpendicular to the dust
        stream.  The collector was deployed on December 24, 2003 and
        remained deployed until five hours after the encounter, at
        which time the spacecraft should have exited the coma.  The
        majority of the dust was believed to have occurred in the few
        hours around closest approach.
 
 
      CRUISE 3
      --------
 
        Mission Phase Start Time       : 2004-02-21
        Mission Phase Stop Time        : 2005-10-17
 
        The Cruise 3 phase was the third part of cruise, spanning from
        the Wild 2 encounter to the return to Earth. During this
        period, no dust collection took place.  The dust collectors
        were stowed to protect the comet particles and to prevent any
        potential problems that might endanger their return to the
        Earth.
 
      EARTH RETURN
      ------------
 
        Mission Phase Start Time       : 2005-10-17
        Mission Phase Stop Time        : 2006-01-16
 
        This phase of the mission began 90 days before Earth Return
        (ER) and ended when the SRC was transferred to the ground
        handling team. Earth approach contained three TCM's and a
        final divert maneuver, performed after SRC separation, to
        prevent the spacecraft from following the SRC into the Earth's
        atmosphere. Prior to separation, the spacecraft was placed at
        the separation attitude and the SRC was spun up using a spin
        release mechanism. This provided the spin stabilization that
        the SRC required for successful atmospheric entry.  The SRC
        entered the atmosphere at 09:57 UTC on January 15, 2006.
 
        The SRC aeroshell protected the sample canister against
        the extreme aerodynamic heating experienced during
        atmospheric entry. The aeroshell also removed over 99 percent
        of the initial kinetic energy thus allowing the parachute
        system to place the SRC within the allowable touchdown
        requirements.
MISSION_OBJECTIVES_SUMMARY
 
      The primary science goal of the STARDUST mission was to collect
      Wild 2 coma samples, plus bonus interstellar dust samples, in
      aerogel, and return them to Earth. Additional science return
      included images of the comet coma and nucleus, and in situ
      measurements of the compositions of dust grains from the Comet
      and Interstellar Dust Analyzer (CIDA) and particle impact counts
      from the Dust Flux Monitor (DFM) mounted on the comet dust
      shield.
 
      These science goals lead to the following objectives in the
      design of the STARDUST mission:
 
      1) Provide a flyby of a comet of interest (Wild 2) at a
      sufficiently low velocity (less than 6.5 km/s) such that
      non-destructive capture of comet dust is possible using an
      aerogel collector.
 
      2) Facilitate the intercept of significant numbers of
      interstellar dust particles using the same collection medium,
      also at as low a velocity as possible.
 
      3) Return as many high resolution images of the comet coma and
      nucleus as possible, subject to the cost constraints of the
      mission.
REFERENCE_DESCRIPTION Anderson, J.D., E.L. Lau, M.K. Bird, B.C. Clark, G. Giampieri, and M. Patzold,Dynamic science on the Stardust mission, J. Geophys. Res., 108, (E10), 8117,2003

Brownlee, D.E., P. Tsou, J.D. Anderson, M.S. Hanner, R.L. Newburn, Z. Sekanina,B.C. Clark, F. Horz, M.E. Zolensky, J. Kissel, J.A.M. McDonnell, S.A. Sandford,and A.J. Tuzzolino, Stardust: Comet and interstellar dust sample returnmission, J. Geophys. Res., 108, (E10), 8111, 2003, doi:10.1029/2003JE002087.

Kissel, J., A. Glasmachers, E. Grun, H. Henkel, H. Hofner, G. Haerendel, H. vonHoerner, K. Hornung, E.K. Jessberger, F.R. Krueger, D. Mohlmann, J.M.Greenberg, Y. Langevin, J. Silen, D. Brownlee, B.C. Clark, M.S. Hanner, F.Hoerz, S. Sandford, Z. Sekanina, P. Tsou, N.G. Utterback, M.E. Zolensky, and C.Heiss, Cometary and Interstellar Dust Analyzer for comet Wild 2, J. Geophys.Res., 108, (E10), 8114, 2003, doi:10.1029/2003JE002091.

Newburn, R.L., Jr., S. Bhaskaran, T.C. Duxbury, G. Fraschetti, T. Radey, and M.Schwochert, Stardust Imaging Camera, J. Geophys. Res., v. 108, no. E10, p.8116, 2003, doi:10.1029/2003JE002081.

Sekanina, Z., A model for comet 81P/Wild 2, J. Geophys. Res., 108, (E10), 8112,2003

Tsou, P., D.E. Brownlee, S.A. Sandford, F. Horz, and M.E. Zolensky, Wild 2 andinterstellar sample collection and Earth return, J. Geophys. Res., 108, (E10),8113, 2003.

Tuzzolino, A.J., T.E. Economou, R.B. McKibben, J.A. Simpson, J.A.M. McDonnell,M.J. Burchell, B.A.M. Vaughan, P. Tsou, M.S. Hanner, B.C. Clark, and D.E.Brownlee, Dust Flux Monitor Instrument for the Stardust mission to comet Wild2, J. Geophys. Res., 108, (E10), 8115, 2003, doi:10.1029/2003JE002086.