NASA Has a New Plan to Save Its Zombie Spaceship

www.nationaljournal.com  by Alex Brown  May 212, 2014

A long-lost spaceship may still have some life left in it—if a California company can figure out how to talk to it.

Courtesy of NASA
Courtesy of NASA

NASA has a plan to save a satellite long given up for dead: Let the private sector take care of it.

The agency’s groundbreaking ISEE-3 satellite is nearing Earth for the first time in 30 years, and while its instruments still appear to work, the communications equipment used to control it was scrapped years ago. The only reason we know it’s still working is that someone forgot to send the “off” signal when it was scheduled to shut down.

ISEE-3’s summer pass-by of Earth could provide the gravity needed to send it on another mission—otherwise it will just keep sailing around the sun. But NASA says it can’t afford the resources needed to re-create the communications equipment it would need for such a maneuver.

 

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