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Citizen Scientists to Reboot NASA Space Probe Launched in 1978

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posted on May, 22 2014 @ 01:41 PM
A group of citizen scientists will attempt to reactivate the long disused International Sun/Earth Explorer (ISEE 3) space probe, which was launched in 1978. They will try to contact the probe by radio, using the 1000 foot Arecibo dish, when it passes nearest Earth, in late May or June. They hope to direct the ISEE 3 into a new orbit and have it make new astronomical observations. See links, below for more.

posted on May, 22 2014 @ 01:49 PM
a reply to: Ross 54

Isn't it a little dangerous to have a group of citizen scientists redirecting orbital configurations of ancient satellites?

Edit: Just finished reading the source, I didn't realize NASA had signed off on it.
edit on 22-5-2014 by parad0x122 because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 22 2014 @ 03:42 PM
This smells like the plot to a Hollywood blockbuster!
I hope they get Tarantino to direct!

posted on May, 22 2014 @ 03:53 PM
its ICE one of the old comet chasers, one of the oldest cans we still out there in a useable condition nearly 40 years old

edit on 22-5-2014 by suicideeddie because: spelling

posted on May, 22 2014 @ 04:53 PM
a reply to: suicideeddie

Its not like things rust in a vacuum, as long as it still has the ability to produce power hopefully she will work just fine.

posted on May, 22 2014 @ 05:13 PM
A comet hunter cool, there may be more to this story than is being told. My grandfather was an early HAM radio operator and claimed that when Halleys comet came through in 1910 it had political implications. There is even a conspiracy angle, Mark Twain was born shortly after a visit by Halley's Comet, and he predicted that he would "go out with it," too. He died the day following the comet's subsequent return. Perhaps the comet was not a long-awaited friend??

posted on May, 22 2014 @ 06:14 PM

originally posted by: parad0x122
Isn't it a little dangerous to have a group of citizen scientists redirecting orbital configurations of ancient satellites?

Not if that scientist is Ernst Stavro Blofeld, head of SPECTRE!

posted on May, 22 2014 @ 08:18 PM

This smells like the plot to a Hollywood blockbuster! I hope they get Tarantino to direct!
a reply to: tvtexan

Arecibo was a CIA listening post during the cold war, and used by the SETI operation in more recent years.
The movie "Contact" dramatized the SETI role. The receiver above the 305 meter dish was supercooled to -173 C,
pretty advanced technology for 1960.

Margaret Mitchell's Pulitzer-winning 1936 novel Gone with the wind was set against the backdrop of the American Civil War and Reconstruction era. Maybe there is one more really good cold war movie "out there" _javascript:icon('')

posted on May, 23 2014 @ 07:00 AM
a reply to: parad0x122 I thought the same thing first but than i read the article. I should have known at the get go that anyone trying this without permission would get a quick knock on the door.

posted on May, 23 2014 @ 07:16 AM
Supposed to still have plenty of fuel. I would bring it back to ISS and inspect it. It is bound to have had small impacts with debris. You might get a sample. If any earth life accidently went with it you could check to see if any survived this long in space. You could then refuel it if you want and send it off yet again for even more missions.

posted on May, 23 2014 @ 10:11 AM
The ISEE 3 will actually be nearest Earth in August, but the earlier they can effect the desired course correction, the less fuel will be consumed. There is a limited supply on board, and after about the middle of June, more fuel would be required than is available. They would also like to conserve fuel, in case they should want to make future orbital adjustments.
They hope to break the space probe out of solar orbit, and put into a 'halo' orbit around the L1 point in space, where the gravity of Earth and Sun balance out. The L1 point is about 1 million, 500 thousand kilometers from Earth, on a line between Earth and Sun. They hope to make radio contact with the ISEE 3 by May 26th.
edit on 23-5-2014 by Ross 54 because: added information

posted on May, 24 2014 @ 12:43 PM
The linked article, below, goes into the complex multi-mission history of the ISEE 3 space probe. This includes a controversial course diversion, causing it to fly through two comets. This made it the first comet probe, beating the purpose-built probes sent to Halley's comet by other nations.
edit on 24-5-2014 by Ross 54 because: added hyphen

edit on 24-5-2014 by Ross 54 because: corrected factual errors

posted on May, 26 2014 @ 11:00 AM
No news, so far, that the ISEE 3 has been contacted. We know that the transmitter is still working. This was left on, and has been heard repeatedly, of late. We do not know that its radio receiver is still working though. Thirty-six years is quite a long time for an unattended piece of electronic equipment to continue working. It could have been knocked out by a micro-meteor, for all we know.
I wondered just what would be necessary for a modern computer to talk to one from 1978. I was surprised to learn that there is NO computer on the ISEE 3.
The best they could do at the time was something called a sequencer, which can, or could, accept a pre-established set of commands from a ground-based computer, by radio.
In order to get the rocket to burn for the needed length of time, and at the correct time, to put the probe into a new orbit, they would presumably have to access the 'fire rocket' command and then somehow specify the length of the burn.
Perhaps this could be done with a signal at the same time, and of the same duration, as the desired rocket burn.
edit on 26-5-2014 by Ross 54 because: improved paragraph structure.

posted on May, 28 2014 @ 02:32 PM
Still awaiting word of successful radio contact with the ISEE 3. Besides the Arecibo 305 meter dish, on which limited time is available, they are also using the Allen Telescope Array, in Northern California, and the 21 meter radio telescope at Morehead State University in Kentucky.
They found that the ISEE 3 was about 250,000 kilometers from where calculations placed it, which complicated matters considerably. They are using their own add-on 400 watt transmitter at Arecibo to try to make the all-important first contact with the space probe.
If this fails to divert the probe into a new 'halo' orbit, it may actually impact on the Moon. It had been projected to pass with a few tens of kilometers of the Moon, at about the time of its nearest approach to Earth. See a blog from one of the project scientists, below:

edit on 28-5-2014 by Ross 54 because: improved paragraph structure.

edit on 28-5-2014 by Ross 54 because: corrected erroneous piece of information

edit on 28-5-2014 by Ross 54 because: stylistic adjustment

posted on May, 29 2014 @ 08:39 PM
Contact has finally been established with the ISEE 3 space probe. They prompted it to begin sending diagnostic telemetry. This is now being analyzed to assess the condition of the probe. The hope is that it will be found to be in satisfactory condition to begin doing space science work again. If the probe can still respond to rocket firing commands, the plan is to put it into an orbit that keeps it in the vicinity of Earth. See link to news article re this, below: rum)
edit on 29-5-2014 by Ross 54 because: corrected spelling

posted on May, 31 2014 @ 12:38 PM
They have been receiving diagnostic and positional data from the ISEE 3 at the very slow (by today's standards) rate of just 512 bits per second. It will take several days to collect the information needed to proceed.
If all goes well, they will eventually transmit commands to fire the probe's rockets. The plan calls for it to assume an orbit that allows it to remain near Earth, and so, within practical radio range. They must do this with the next two weeks, or the thrust required will be more than can be managed with the fuel on board. In that case the ISEE 3 would sail away on its independent solar orbit.
edit on 31-5-2014 by Ross 54 because: improved paragraph structure.

posted on Jun, 2 2014 @ 12:17 PM
See the link, below, for the latest details of the great deal of behind the scenes work necessary to make the ISEE 3 reboot project a success.
They experienced a moderate earthquake while working suspended above the Arecibo dish. They found that the spacecraft was much nearer than expected to the trajectory needed for a very near pass by the Moon. This pass is part of the necessary maneuvering to place the ISEE 3 in an orbit near Earth.
When they leave Arecibo they will have to switch from the already very slow communications rate of 512 bits per second to a glacial 64 bits. Routine operations will be at the 21 meter Morehead State University dish, which has much lower gain.
edit on 2-6-2014 by Ross 54 because: improved paragraph structure.

posted on Jun, 4 2014 @ 11:19 AM
Further information on the ISEE 3 reboot mission:
As I surmised, the lack of an on-board computer will make it necessary to control the thrust applied to the spacecraft manually, from Earth. The timing will have to be observed, including signal delay time, due to distance, and the thrust activating control held down at the control center, as long as the thrust is to continue. Thrust will be delivered by the release of jets of hydrazine gas, not rockets.
Stationing the probe in an orbit around the LI point, 1 million, 500 thousand kilometers Sunward from the Earth, has been widely discussed. It was then realized that better, newer satellites serving the same purpose were already stationed there. There is some consideration being given to sending the ISEE 3 to a passing comet.
Before any new mission, though, the spacecraft must negotiate a perilous maneuver within 50 kilometers of the Moon, around and behind it, into a power-down, radio blackout phase. It is hoped that the probe will subsequently activate again and resume communications with Earth. Quite a lot to ask of a 36 year old spacecraft!
edit on 4-6-2014 by Ross 54 because: removed non-working link address

edit on 4-6-2014 by Ross 54 because: (no reason given)

edit on 4-6-2014 by Ross 54 because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 6 2014 @ 11:11 AM
Current news on the ISEE 3 reboot project at the link, below.
The current plan calls for the orbit correction maneuver to be made on June 17th. Since the ISEE 3 was found to be on a trajectory requiring far less adjustment than expected, the need to make the maneuver as early as possible was reduced.
They will need to use only a small portion of the available thrust gas. This allows them extra time to work out all the problems and complexities of reviving a 36 year old satellite with obsolete equipment aboard.
They are still referring to the anticipated maneuver as ESL 1 insertion. This denotes the fact that they intend to send the ISEE 3 into orbit around the Earth/Sun L1 position. This is presumably though of as a parking orbit, leaving the space probe available for a new mission. As mentioned above, there are already satellites stationed near the L1 position doing a better job of the work that the ISEE 3 could do there.
edit on 6-6-2014 by Ross 54 because: improved paragraph structure

posted on Jun, 9 2014 @ 11:16 AM
An interesting recent blog , linked below, on the ISEE 3 reboot project. It explains that the spacecraft's solar orbit is similar to that of Earth. It was possible to inexpensively recreate much of the hardware NASA used to communicate with and control the ISEE 3 using computer software to emulate this equipment.
All 13 instruments onboard the spacecraft are receiving power. There are some indications that not all of them may be in working order, though.
They are still attempting to characterize the position and trajectory of the ISEE 3 as accurately as possible, prior to the anticipated orbit changing maneuver on June

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