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In the Payload Hazardous Service Facility, workers begin removing the protective plastic covering of the Stardust spacecraft. The spacecraft will undergo installation and testing of the solar arrays, plus final installation and testing of spacecraft instruments followed by an overall spacecraft functional test. Built by Lockheed Martin Astronautics near Denver, Colo., for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and NASA, the spacecraft Stardust will use a unique medium called aerogel to capture comet particles flying off the nucleus of comet Wild 2 in January 20004, plus collect interstellar dust for later analysis. Stardust will be launched aboard a Boeing Delta 7426 rocket from Complex 17, Cape Canaveral Air Station, targeted for Feb. 6, 1999. The collected samples will return to Earth in a re-entry capsule to be jettisoned from Stardust as it swings by Earth in January 2006

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