ISEE-3 Is Alive! Answered
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.