"The ISEE-3 Reboot Project is pleased to announce that our team has established two-way communication with the ISEE-3 spacecraft and has begun commanding it to perform specific functions. Over the coming days and weeks our team will make an assessment of the spacecraft's overall health and refine the techniques required to fire its engines and bring it back to an orbit near Earth."
"We have successfully commanded both of ISEE-3's data multiplexers into engineering telemetry mode. The current bitrate is 512 bits/sec. We have been able to verify modulated data through ground stations in Germany, Morehead State in Kentucky, and the SETI Allen Array in California."
Keith's note: 34 years before the ISEE-3 Reboot Project there was another attempt to raise private funds to operate a retired NASA spacecraft - Viking 1. It was called "The Viking Fund." Never heard of it? Here's a story from 1980 that explains what they did. Sound familiar? I was involved. So this whole idea is not exactly a new one to me. The person behind all of this was Stan Kent.
"The initial contact was a tone followed by specific commands," project organizer Keith Cowing told NPR's Nell Greenfieldboyce by email. "We learned a lot simply by being able to talk to it and get it to do things. "May not sound like much but that was a huge unknown," he adds."
"Communication requires a hardware amplifier installed in the dish at Arecibo. After a lot of fiddling around and even an earthquake, everything was ready.The team has been waiting since Friday last week for permission from NASA to go ahead with first contact. Every day of delay was a mounting risk, as orbital dynamics has no patience for paperwork."
"An ambitious project to resuscitate an abandoned spacecraft finally met with success Thursday as amateur astro-engineers took control of the International Sun-Earth Explorer -- originally launched in 1978. "We are now in command of the ISEE-3 spacecraft," read the title of Thursday's online post at Space College, the name of the crowdfunded team attempting to make contact."
"It's official: ISEE-3, the 36-year-old satellite that NASA left for dead over a decade ago, is back in touch with humankind. This afternoon, a group of citizen scientists who raised almost $160,000 to fund the process of taking control of ISEE-3 announced that two-way contact has been established with the little satellite that could. So what's next?"
Today the group made first contact with the International Sun-Earth Explorer-3 (ISEE-3) when the spacecraft acknowledged receiving a signal from the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico, says Keith Cowing, co-director of the ISEE-3 Reboot Project, a group of about 20 volunteer space buffs. "We knew we could do this--it's a vindication," he says. "It's sort of like reaching back in time to grab something that otherwise would have been lost."
Space Hackers Take Control of ISEE-3 Spacecraft, IEEE Spectrum
"Everything was in place by last Friday, the team reported, but they had to await clearance from NASA. That put some pressure on the team's already tight schedule: they expect they have until mid-June to command the spacecraft to fire its thrusters for the first time."