Crowdfunding under way to regain control of ISEE-3/ICE

Bikeman (Heinz-Bernd Eggenstein)
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Topic 197557

Hi!

I guess many of you have followed the story of the ISEE-3/ICE spacecraft that, in the words of Emily Lakdawalla, is returning to an Earth no longer capable of speaking to it. Or so it seemed, after NASA had found out that equipment used to communicate with the 'ancient' probe had been removed from the Deep Space Network and considered it too expensive and not worth the effort to modify the transmitters again.

Ever since NASA gave up on ISEE-3/ICE, ideas started to float around suggesting that amateurs, academic groups and private space companies could find ways to return it to science operations. Even XKCD had some suggestions :-) .

The rescue mission now gains momentum with a crowd-funding campaign seeking to raise at least 125,000 US $ and aims to bring ISEE-3 into an orbit where it could be used for citizen science and education for the rest of its lifetime.

http://www.rockethub.com/projects/42228-isee-3-reboot-project-by-space-college-skycorp-and-spaceref/

Even if they raise the money, success is not guaranteed and the project may well fail: time is running out quickly, and the tasks to be performed are numerous and difficult. The plan is to build the needed transmitter equipment using Software Defined Radio (SDR) that uses high speed digital signal processing rather than custom build electronics. To prevent ISEE-3 from drifting away into space again after its upcoming close encounter with Earth, the team behind the campaign is suggesting a set of delicate swing-by maneuvers that would take the probe to within only a few km of the lunar surface. Communicating with the spacecraft is also tricky: it doesn't even have an on-board computer with command memory and sequencing like modern probes: you have to tell it what to do pretty much in real-time.

Trajectory simulation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJw3XsmJIUs

HB

Bikeman (Heinz-Bernd Eggenstein)
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Crowdfunding under way to regain control of ISEE-3/ICE

Status update as of May 1st.

Amazing stuff!

Crowd funding has now reached approx 70% of the target with less than 40k $ to go, in the remaining 13 days.

HB

Bikeman (Heinz-Bernd Eggenstein)
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Another update:

Another update: http://spacecollege.org/isee3/isee-3-reboot-project-status-and-schedule-for-first-contact.html

It's getting exciting: The plan is to use the Arecibo dish (yes! the same instrument that provides radio astronomy observations for our pulsar search here!) to contact the ISEE-3/ICE spacecraft and to command it to switch on it's engineering telemetry again (currently it's only sending a carrier signal without any encoded information). This step is essential to check out the spacecraft's condition and to verify the procedure to talk to the probe using newly build and programmed hardware & software.

The crowd funding campaign has succeeded to raise 125k$ but was extended for a few more days to reach an extended goal of 150k$.

Bikeman (Heinz-Bernd Eggenstein)
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NASA has now given a "GO" for

NASA has now given a "GO" for the ISEE-3-Reboot Team at Arecibo to try to establish contact with the hibernating probe. The team has telescope time today afternoon, local time.

There was a rather strong earthquake in the area yesterday, but it seems operations at Arecibo are not affected by it.

If all goes well, ISEE-3 will receive the signal, will decode it and will then begin to wake up and eventually send back telemetry data about it's health and system status. Meanwhile, using measurements made from Arecibo in the past few days, the current trajectory of the probe is computed to a better accuracy than was available before. With an updated ephemeris, the team will then be able to tell whether the spacecraft is in a good enough shape and position to return it to science operation in an orbit close to Earth.

The most up-to-date news on the team's progress are available on Twitter:

https://twitter.com/search?q=%23ISEE3&src=hash

EDIT:

The team has reported success:

http://spacecollege.org/isee3/we-are-now-in-command-of-the-isee-3-spacecraft.html

HB

Bikeman (Heinz-Bernd Eggenstein)
Bikeman (Heinz-...
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This is what a NASA press kit

This is what a NASA press kit looked like in the Disco era :-)

http://images.spaceref.com/news/spacecollege/ISEE-3presskit.pdf

HB

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