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ISEE-3 Is Alive! Answered

As reported in Science Magazine online today:

A group of citizen scientists has commandeered a NASA spacecraft that was launched in 1978 and had gone unused since 1997.

Today the group made first contact with the International Sun-Earth Explorer-3 (ISEE-3) when the spacecraft acknowledged receiving a signal from the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico, says Keith Cowing, co-director of the ISEE-3 Reboot Project, a group of about 20 volunteer space buffs. “We knew we could do this—it’s a vindication,” he says. “It’s sort of like reaching back in time to grab something that otherwise would have been lost.”

Making contact isn't all the group plans to do.

Next month, they plan to instigate a burn with the remaining fuel and move the spacecraft into a new orbit.

The group is doing this with no direct funding from NASA:  they raised nearly $160k needed for for software development, access to NASA archives, and Arecibo and other telescope time via the RocketHub crowdfunding site.

Discussions

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Lithium Rain
Lithium Rain

5 years ago

Cool, but I have serious doubts as to the legality of the project...not that I expect anybody will actually go after them.

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kelseymh
kelseymh

Reply 5 years ago

The group has been working closely with NASA, and NASA has signed a "Non-reimbursable" agreement with them (see the Wiki page). So I think they're not only legit, but (morally) supported by TPTB (not to be confused with TMBG :-).

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Lithium Rain
Lithium Rain

Reply 5 years ago

Awesome! (As you can see, my worldview is already skewed...and we haven't even reached 1L status yet. :P )

This is the kind of thing that I hope gets reported on widely. NASA really needs more good press...

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kelseymh
kelseymh

5 years ago

Now that it's escaped the filters, here's a little bump...