NASA’s Stardust spacecraft sent its last transmission to Earth at 7:33 p.m. EDT Thursday, March 24, shortly after depleting fuel and ceasing operations. During an 11-year period, the venerable spacecraft collected and returned comet material to Earth and was reused after the end of its prime mission in 2006 to observe and study another comet during February 2011.
Stardust and Stardust-NExT missions were managed by JPL for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The missions were part of the Discovery Program managed at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. Joe Veverka of Cornell University was the Stardust-NExT principal investigator. Don Brownlee of the University of Washington in Seattle was the Stardust principal investigator. Lockheed Martin Space Systems built the spacecraft and managed day-to-day mission operations.
For more information about Stardust and Stardust-NExT, visit: