Following the ISEE-3 satellite / 2014-06-06

2014-06-06 Following the ISEE-3 satellite 5 years ago
There are great things happening at the moment: the NASA ISEE-3 satellite from 1978 is going to pass earth again in August 2014. Due to budget cuts and cleanups at NASA they decided to not do anything with the satellite. International Cometary Explorer - Wikipedia.

The first signals from this satellite were received in March: AMSAT-DL and Bochum Observatory Detect ISEE-3 Transmitters - Space College and since that moment people have been busy with it. The satellite was supposed to be switched off but it wasn't completely switched off and it receives enough solar power to overcome the lack of energy storage. A project was started named the ISEE-3 Reboot Project - Space College to get in touch with the satellite again and control it to make the course correction to return to the original orbit. With crowdfunding this project was able to get started quickly and the project received the control keys from NASA to be able to command the satellite. The first commands were successfull: Happy Dance Video: First Successful ISEE-3 Commanding - Space College when the satellite was ordered to send more telemetry data.

I'm following this story as I think it's great: commanding a satellite that has been in space for 36 years. The amateur radio angle is that recent developments in amateur radio have made this possible: the kind of specialized equipment that was needed in 1978 is now done with software defined radio and really good amplifiers.

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