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NASA Signs Agreement with Citizen Scientists

isee-3 isee-3 reboot project nasa

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#1    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 12:05 AM

NASA Signs Agreement with Citizen Scientists Attempting to Communicate with Old Spacecraft


www.nasa.gov said:

NASA has given a green light to a group of citizen scientists attempting to breathe new scientific life into a more than 35-year old agency spacecraft.

The agency has signed a Non-Reimbursable Space Act Agreement (NRSAA) with Skycorp, Inc., in Los Gatos, California, allowing the company to attempt to contact, and possibly command and control, NASA’s International Sun-Earth Explorer-3 (ISEE-3) spacecraft as part of the company’s ISEE-3 Reboot Project. This is the first time NASA has worked such an agreement for use of a spacecraft the agency is no longer using or ever planned to use again.

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"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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#2    bison

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 02:34 PM

The project to communicate with the ISEE 3 space probe has met with success. It has now responded to commands to begin sending diagnostic telemetry.
This data is being analyzed to determine the condition of the space probe. It is hoped that it is still in a condition, 36 years after it was launched, to begin again to do space science work.
If the probe can also respond to commands to fire its rockets, it is planned to break it out of solar orbit and place it in a halo orbit around the L1 point, a fixed point in space where the the gravity of Earth and Sun balance out. L1 is about 1 million, 500 thousand kilometers from Earth, in the direction of the Sun.
http://spectrum.ieee...&(IEEE Spectrum

Edited by bison, 30 May 2014 - 03:11 PM.


#3    bison

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Posted 31 May 2014 - 05:51 PM

They have been receiving diagnostic and positional data from the ISEE 3 spacecraft at the very slow (by today's standards) rate of just 512 bits per second. At this rate it will take several days to collect the information needed to proceed. They are working against a mid-June deadline. After that, there will not be enough fuel on board to bring the space probe into a new orbit near Earth. In that case, it will sail away again, in its independent solar orbit.
http://www.techtimes...-spacecraft.htm


#4    Paranormalcy

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Posted 31 May 2014 - 09:16 PM

That's awesome! If continued and improving space exploration won't be done by funded government agencies, then let the next people that are truly curious and interested and committed to the idea have a chance - wonderful visionary civilians, self driven and funded!

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#5    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 31 May 2014 - 09:57 PM

View PostParanormalcy, on 31 May 2014 - 09:16 PM, said:

That's awesome! If continued and improving space exploration won't be done by funded government agencies, then let the next people that are truly curious and interested and committed to the idea have a chance - wonderful visionary civilians, self driven and funded!
That is more than a little unfair, after all this IS a NASA probe, funded by and originally operated by a Government agency. Bringing it back into use is a wonderful thing but with out the visionary NASA engineers that designed it and built is so well more than three and a half decades ago this spacecraft would not be operating now. It was also visionary of NASA to use an existing spacecraft originally designed to explore the outer boundaries of Earth's magnetosphere, take it out of it's orbit and turn it into the first spacecraft to visit a comet at very little extra cost to the US tax payer.

It is precisely BECAUSE NASA is continuing to fund new missions that they sometimes have to end funding for old missions.

Whilst your praise of the team that have achieved this communication with ISEE-3 is well placed, your criticism of government space agencies most certainly is not.

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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#6    bison

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Posted 02 June 2014 - 04:57 PM

See Link below for some details on a great deal of work, behind the scenes, to make the ISEE 3 reboot project work. The project team experienced a moderate earthquake while working suspended above the Arecibo dish.
They found that the spacecraft is much nearer than expected to the trajectory needed for a very near pass by the Moon. This is part of the necessary maneuvering to place the satellite in a halo orbit around L1.
They will have to switch from 512 to 64 bits per second radio communications with the ISEE 3 when they leave Arecibo. Routine operations will be at the 21 meter dish at Morehead State University, which has much lower gain.
http://spacecollege....e-and-more.html

Edited by bison, 02 June 2014 - 05:00 PM.


#7    bison

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Posted 04 June 2014 - 05:54 PM

See link, below, for further information on the ISEE 3 reboot project.  
Since the spacecraft has no computer on board, course-adjusting thrust will have to be turned on and off manually from Earth, at the exactly appropriate times, even allowing for the delay in receiving radio signals, due to the distance of the ISEE 3 from Earth.
There has been a good deal of talk of sending the spacecraft to a halo orbit around the L1 point, about 1 million, 500 thousand kilometers Sunward from Earth. Then it was realized that newer, better satellites serving the same purpose were already stationed there. There is some thought of sending the space probe to a passing comet.
Before any of this, though, The ISEE 3 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 spacecraft will subsequently reactivate and be able to communicate with Earth again. A lot to ask of a 36 year old space probe!
http://www.theatlant...test-yet/372026

Edited by bison, 04 June 2014 - 05:59 PM.


#8    bison

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 03:43 PM

Current news from the ISEE 3 reboot project, at the link, below. The plan now seems to be to do the orbit-changing maneuver on June 17th. This gives them time to sort out all the problems and complexities involved in rebooting a 36 year old spacecraft with obsolete technology aboard.
Since they discovered that the ISEE 3 is on a trajectory requiring far less adjustment than anticipated, the available thrust situation looks much less a problem than it was thought to be. They will only need to use a small portion of the available steering gas.
They are still referring to the maneuver as ESL 1 insertion. This denotes the fact the plan is still to send the spacecraft into orbit around the Earth/Sun L1 point. This is presumably thought of as a parking position, making the space probe available for another mission. As mentioned previously, there are already other satellites at L1 doing a better job of the work that the ISEE 3 could do there.  
http://www.rockethub.com/42228

Edited by bison, 06 June 2014 - 03:55 PM.


#9    bison

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 10:32 PM

An interesting recent blog, linked below, brings out new details about the ISEE 3 reboot project. The solar orbit of the spacecraft is similar to that of the Earth. They were able 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 aboard the spacecraft are receiving power. There are some indications that they may not all be in working order, though.
http://www.planetary...lence-isee.html


#10    bison

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 05:57 PM

The ISEE 3 reboot project has moved back the date for breaking the spacecraft out of solar orbit. This is now expected to occur between June 30th and July 2nd. This delayed time frame became practical, after they realized that the ISEE 3 was better placed than expected, requiring less fuel to break orbit.
They will be using the Arecibo radio telescope in conjunction with some in the NASA Deep Space Network on June 18th through 22nd and July 3rd, 4th, and 6th. These should allow more accurate determination of the position of the ISEE 3, both before and after the planned maneuver. They will have access to the 34 meter diameter antennas of the Deep Space Network near Goldstone, California; Madrid, Spain; and Canberra, Australia.


#11    bison

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 03:32 PM

The ISEE 3 reboot story made the front page of the Sunday New York Times. See link below
A simple maneuver to increase the spin rate of the spacecraft is tentatively planned for June 21st. This will improve the stability of the ISEE 3 and is necessary before the orbit-changing maneuver. This will also serve as the first test of the propulsion, and its control by radio, since the reboot project took control of the spacecraft.
http://www.nytimes.c...pace.html?_r=2


#12    bison

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Posted 21 June 2014 - 02:44 PM

A bit of a setback for the ISEE 3 reboot project. The thruster action to improve the spin stability of the spacecraft, set for today, had to be postponed. The reboot team could not confirm that the ISEE 3 was properly and consistently receiving test commands. The team is currently investigating this problem.
Things had been going so remarkably well for the project, it seems inevitable that some problem would eventually arise.


#13    bison

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 02:25 AM

The ISEE 3 reboot team used the NASA Deep Space Network today, to determine the distance of the spacecraft. It is necessary to know its position to a high degree of accuracy, in order to plan the maneuver that will change its orbit. This is the first time that the Deep Space Network has communicated with the ISEE 3, since 1999.
The spacecraft has successfully carried out some commands sent to it, but there still seems to be a problem with it doing so consistently. Another, longer session using the DSN is planned for tomorrow.


#14    Merc14

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 03:21 AM

Thanks for all the updates and the website.  I hope these folks succeed and get this bird back to work.  You have to admit, we build great gear.

Believing when there is no compelling evidence is a mistake.  The idea is to withhold belief until there is compelling evidence and if the universe does not comply with our predispositions, okay, then we have the wrenching obligation to accommodate to the way the universe really is.  - Carl Sagan

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#15    bison

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Posted 02 July 2014 - 10:25 PM

The ISEE-3 reboot team reports that the spacecraft fired its thrusters in response to their commands, successfully carrying out the spin-stabilization maneuver today. Next comes the maneuver to break it out of Solar orbit, and place it in a halo orbit, near Earth. The team adds that yesterday the magnetometer aboard the spacecraft detected a recent solar event.

Edited by bison, 02 July 2014 - 10:28 PM.





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