[meteorite-list] NASA Signs Agreement with Citizen Scientists Attempting to Communicate with ISEE-3 Spacecraft

From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Wed, 21 May 2014 17:02:23 -0700 (PDT)
Message-ID: <201405220002.s4M02Nd8021545_at_zagami.jpl.nasa.gov>

May 21, 2014
NASA Signs Agreement with Citizen Scientists Attempting to Communicate
with Old Spacecraft

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.

The NRSAA details the technical, safety, legal and proprietary issues that
will be addressed before any attempts are made to communicate with or control
the 1970's-era spacecraft as it nears the Earth in August.

"The intrepid ISEE-3 spacecraft was sent away from its primary mission to
study the physics of the solar wind extending its mission of discovery to
study two comets." said John Grunsfeld, astronaut and associate administrator
for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA headquarters in Washington. "We
have a chance to engage a new generation of citizen scientists through this
creative effort to recapture the ISEE-3 spacecraft as it zips by the Earth
this summer."

Launched in 1978 to study the constant flow of solar wind streaming toward
Earth, ISEE-3 successfully completed its prime mission in 1981. With
remaining fuel and functioning instruments, it then was redirected to observe
two comets. Following the completion of that mission, the spacecraft
continued in orbit around the sun. It is now making its closest approach to
Earth in more than 30 years.

The goal of the ISEE-3 Reboot Project is to put the spacecraft into an orbit
at a gravitationally stable point between Earth and the sun known as
Lagrangian 1 (L1). Once safely back in orbit, the next step would be to
return the spacecraft to operations and use its instruments as they were
originally designed. ISEE-3's close approach in the coming weeks provides
optimal conditions to attempt communication. If communications are
unsuccessful, the spacecraft will swing by the moon and continue to orbit the

NASA has shared technical data these citizen scientists to help them
communicate with and return data from ISEE-3. The contributions of any
citizen science provided by the spacecraft, if it is successfully recovered,
depend on the current condition of its instruments. New data resulting from
the project will be shared with the science community and the public,
providing a unique tool for teaching students and the public about spacecraft
operations and data gathering. The data also will provide valuable
information about the effects of the space environment on the 36-year old

The ISEE-3 mission opened new pathways for scientific exploration, helping
scientists better understand the sun-Earth system, which at its most
turbulent can affect satellites around Earth and disrupt our technological

To learn more about the ISEE-3 Reboot Project, visit:


To learn more about ISEE-3, visit:



Steve Cole
Headquarters, Washington
stephen.e.cole at nasa.gov

Dennis Wingo
Skycorp/ISEE-3 Reboot Project
wingod at skycorpinc.com
Received on Wed 21 May 2014 08:02:23 PM PDT

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