Keith's note: We have had the ability to contact the ISEE-3 spacecraft since last Friday. All hardware is in place at Arecibo and has been tested end-to-end. We are now awaiting authorization to proceed from NASA. First Contact can then happen almost immediately once our window opens.
Every day we delay shortens the time available to contact the spacecraft and begin the process of understanding its condition and verifying our ability to command it. The longer we wait, the more fuel and thrusting time will be required. This will soon become a critical factor as we get into the month of June. Given that the spacecraft is not where everyone thought it would be, the possibility of a lunar impact cannot be discounted. Yet another reason why we need to make First Contact ASAP.