Volunteers Will Try To Redirect Old NASA Spacecraft July 8

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WASHINGTON — The volunteer team attempting to resurrect NASA’s International Earth/Sun Explorer (ISEE)-3 observatory before it goes hurtling into orbit around the sun for thousands of years will attempt to boost the venerable spacecraft back into the Earth system July 8.

“We are planning to try and do our Trajectory Correction Maneuver burn tomorrow,” the ISEE-3 Reboot Project tweeted July 7. 

ISEE-3 will be within range of the project’s main ground station at the Arecibo radio astronomy observatory in Puerto Rico from 12:42 p.m. to 3:29 p.m. EDT, according to the July 7 tweet.

The ISEE-3 Reboot Project is spearheaded by entrepreneur Dennis Wingo and Keith Cowing, editor of the widely read NASAWatch.com website.

The team raised some $160,000 on the crowdfunding website RocketHub.com to cover ISEE-3 Reboot Project’s operations budget, as well as hardware needed to turn the Arecibo observatory into a ground station for the old heliophysics spacecraft, which was launched in 1978. 

If the ISEE-3 reboot project cannot pull off the planned trajectory correction some time in July, it is unlikely that the satellite will ever be returned to its original orbit at Earth-Sun Lagrange Point 1. 

The project team wants to put ISEE-3 back into that orbit so citizen scientists can restart the spacecraft’s original mission: observing solar winds — charged particles emitted in bursts by the sun — as they break against the outer edge of Earth’s magnetosphere.

 

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