In preparation for the Trajectory Correction Maneuver A (TCM-A), the Sample
Return Capsule (SRC) backshell was closed. The backshell would act as
a flexible body when the 4.45 Newton thrusters are fired if left
in its open position, possibly effecting the Attitude Control Subsystem
stability. Therefore the backshell will be closed for all TCM’s;
however it will not be locked. The backshell will remain closed until
late February when the Aerogel Collector is deployed for the first
inter-stellar dust collection period.

The Flight Team at Lockheed Martin Astronautics executed TCM-A
flawlessly on December 28, with the spacecraft performing an 11 meter/second
burn. The burn was performed in an attitude and configuration needed to
perform the much larger Deep Space Maneuver-1 (DSM-1) in about 3 weeks.
It appears that the maneuver was very accurate and the operational
experience gained represents a major risk reduction for performing DSM-1.

The Spacecraft Test Laboratory (STL) testing of the Multi-Firing Flight
Software (FSW) patch has started. This patch is scheduled to be installed
on the spacecraft on January 3, 2000. After installation, the All-Stellar
demonstration will be performed. All-Stellar Mode was successfully
demonstrated in October, however, a pre-launch lien (Multi-Firing FSW patch)
had not been installed. If all is successful then the transition to
All-Stellar Mode will be made on January 5, 2000.

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