NASA Stardust Sample Return Mission Over - AeroSpace News - #AeroSpaceNews NASA Stardust Sample Return Mission Over - AeroSpace News - #AeroSpaceNews
Pages Menu
Categories Menu



Posted in Space News

NASA Stardust Sample Return Mission Over

According to a story published by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Stardust sample return mission returned safely to Earth when the capsule carrying cometary and interstellar particles successfully touched down at 2:10 a.m. Pacific time (3:10 a.m. Mountain time) on January 15, 2006. Stardust landed in the desert salt flats of the U.S. Air Force Utah Test and Training Range.

"Ten years of planning and seven years of flight operations were realized early this morning when we successfully picked up our return capsule off of the desert floor in Utah," said Tom Duxbury, Stardust project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California. "The Stardust project has delivered to the international science community material that has been unaltered since the formation of our solar system."


Stardust released its sample return capsule at 9:57 p.m. Pacific time (10:57 p.m. Mountain time) the evening of January 14. The capsule entered the atmosphere four hours later at 1:57 a.m. Pacific time (2:57 a.m. Mountain time). The drogue and main parachutes deployed at 2:00 and 2:05 a.m. Pacific time, respectively (3:00 and 3:05 a.m. Mountain time).

"I have been waiting for this day since the early 1980s when Deputy Principal Investigator Dr. Peter Tsou of JPL and I designed a mission to collect comet dust," said Dr. Don Brownlee, Stardust principal investigator from the University of Washington, Seattle. "To see the capsule safely back on its home planet is a thrilling accomplishment."

The sample return capsule's science canister and its cargo of comet and interstellar dust particles will be stowed inside a special aluminum carrying case to await transfer to the Johnson Space Center, Houston, where it will be opened. NASA's Stardust mission traveled 2.88 billion miles during its seven-year round-trip odyssey. Scientists believe these precious samples will help provide answers to fundamental questions about comets and the origins of the solar system.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, manages the Stardust mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, developed and operated the spacecraft.

Please support AeroSpaceNews.com with a paid subscription.

It is also very important for you to please fill out our readership survey if you have not already done so. Please take a moment right now. Click here to fill out the survey.

Thank you!


Be sure to check out our cool Pilot Watches and Aviator Watches.

Share:

Support Our Work. Keep Us In Flight.

Independent publishers like AeroSpaceNews.com depend on readers like you to help us soar. If you enjoyed your visit please become a member of our crew by supporting us with a contribution. Visit aerospacenews.com/fans and contribute any amount you can afford. Every bit helps. Thanks!

If your business or brand would like to sponsor our aviation podcast, website or videos please visit aerospacenews.com/sponsor and select one of our affordable options. Thanks!

Another way you can support us if you prefer to purchase something specific is to get us some gear from our wishlist (a new window will open): aerospacenews.com/wishlist

We invite the photographers, videographers and filmmakers in our audience who’d like to have their work featured on our website, YouTube channel and Instagram account to get in touch. In case you haven’t heard we have a new program for some who are selected to get paid as well, so be sure to check that out!

There are instructions on our website at aerospacenews.com/showcase