This area will cover relevant news of the threat to the planet from Near Earth Objects (NEOs) including concepts and designs for mitigation. All opinions are those of the author.

14 February 2011

Stardust-NExT Update (Sunday Feb 13, E-1 day)

Comet 9P/Tempel 1 (Source: JPL Small-Body Database Browser)

From JPL on the Stardust-NExT mission encounter on 14-15 February 2011 with Comet 9P/Tempel 1...

The overnight activities taken by the flight team went very well, and the final OpNavs taken at E-42 hours were successfully acquired and downlinked.

The navigation solutions were finished this morning, and they show that the predicted delivery is within the ‘green zone’ of the delivery chart. The nominal flyby point is at 191 km from the surface of the comet with a 11km uncertainty radius. The current Time of Closest Approach estimate is still around 04:40 UTC on February 15 (20:40 February 14 in Pasadena). Based on these discussions and updates, the following decisions were made, with full concurrence between the PM and PI:

- No TCM 34 will be executed
- The nominal imaging sequences for both timing and exposures will be implemented in the flyby sequence

The final Nav and Autonav products will be delivered to DOM slightly ahead of schedule, and these will be used to build the final products. These products will be uplinked to the spacecraft this evening, beginning around 20:00 PST. Once these products are on board, the next on board activity will begin around E-3 hours.Many thanks to the S/C team, the Nav team, the Science team, and the various ground observers who provided invaluable data.

Link: Stardust-NExT 2011 Mission: Status Report (JPL)
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