"I had guys clambering over the [radio antenna] dish in Arecibo [Puerto Rico], hanging hardware while people were still giving money, and people were saying, 'This is great!' " he says. "I was live-tweeting everything we did. Every geeky expression that happened in the control room I threw out there, and people were telling me they got in trouble for not going to work, or skipping class, sitting on the subway reading it on their phone." "The bulk of the people that give you money don't quite even understand exactly what you're going to do," says Cowing. But success comes "if you tell a compelling story, couch this in a way that there's adventure involved, but also a payback opportunity that people feel is important, that there's something to be learned."
Recently in ISEE-3 Category
"I hadn't been aware that, if you ask NASA nicely, you'll be allowed to take the controls of a satellite floating in outer space. Clearly, I need to get out more, as this is what a group of very interested civilians are doing from their headquarters in a McDonald's."
"Our plucky crowdfunded spacecraft has been getting into all sorts of productive mischief, from detecting a solar burst to worming its way into Google Chrome's interactive heart. Today ISEE-3 will be making its closest approach to the moon, and you can watch live with commentary from the project experts."
"Dr. Coplan had largely forgotten about the experiment after they received the last data in the late 1980s. This year, to clear space in a laboratory he would be sharing with another scientist, he threw out his ISEE-3 data notebooks. Then, in June, one of his former students heard about the reboot project and told Dr. Coplan, who went to the waste bin and found the notebooks. "That sat around for a while, fortunately," he said."
Join the hangout live as the ISEE-3 spacecraft makes it's long-awaited lunar flyby after 36 years in interplanetary space. Flip between the 3D realtime trajectory and the live video program. Live from ISEE-3 Reboot headquarters, a special moderated by The Sky at Night's Chris Lintott and featuring scientists and experts from around the world all brought together for this historic event.
Sunday, August 10th 10:30am PT - 12:00pm PT
"We are excited to let all of you know about the newly announced collaboration between the ISEE-3 Reboot Project and Google. The main feature of this is a new website developed by Google Creative Lab in collaboration with the ISEE-3 Reboot Project team that features a history of the ISEE-3 mission as well as a presentation of data currently being received from ISEE-3."
"As promised, the time of closest approach to the Moon is 18:16 UTC (on Sunday, 10 August). Vassilis Angelopolous at UCLA is now involved. He has two spacecraft in lunar orbit and is planning to acquire data during the ISEE flyby in a special telemetry mode. That should add immeasurably to the scientific results. The telemetry signal continues to improve. There is still random telemetry noise but few if any long gaps so there is little disruption of the data and real signals are becoming clear. Don Gurnett's team (SCH or Plasma Waves) recently reported seeing Auroral Kilometric Radiation from Earth, ion acoustic waves in the solar wind and electron plasma oscillations usually caused by a shock wave. They are debating whether they are seeing waves from Earth's bow shock or an interplanetary shock."
"After a successful reawakening the venerable ISEE-3 spacecraft is about to begin the first interplanetary citizen science mission. We will be beginning the "ISEE-3 Interplanetary Citizen Science Mission" on 10 August 2014 as the spacecraft flies by the Moon. We have a functional space craft that can do science and is already returning new data. All of our original citizen science objectives remain unchanged and are ready for implementation. In fact, we'll be announcing some new partnerships shortly that will serve to turbocharge our efforts in this regard."
Lost and Found in Space: Rebooting ISEE-3: Space for All, op ed, Keith Cowing, New York Times
"NASA likes to say that "space is hard," but to make itself relevant to the people whose taxes fund it, it must get outside its comfort zone. To its credit, NASA saw the potential of our project to reach beyond the traditional audience. The interactions via social media with our supporters have borne this out. Imagine what feats of exploration might be possible if an empowered and engaged citizenry realized that exploring space is really something anyone can do."
"In the science fiction universe of Star Trek, set several hundred years in the future, when we are a spacefaring civilization, humanity encounters a species called the Borg. The Borg are a conglomeration of species who are assimilated into a collective mind numbering in the hundreds of billions. All of the Borg are connected to each other through a communications link that allows each of them to share each others thoughts, though in a manner that erases individuality. This week, with the call that our ISEE-3 reboot team put out to the internet for help in debugging our propulsion system problem, I have come to realize that a significant portion of humanity has reached a Borg like state, one where the internet has become a collective mind for communications and knowledge sharing. We still have our individuality, we can still decouple at will from the collective mind, but in a way that few philosophers or technologists have envisioned, we are connected in a way never before thought possible. The implications are staggering, and here is how our little ISEE-3 project is an example of the operation of the collective mind."
"Our next window at Arecibo is tomorrow (Wednesday) between 12:19 pm and 3:03 pm ET. During that opportunity we intend to attempt a deep space plumbing repair on board ISEE-3 and then fire its engines."
"We have a crowdsourced research project for our ISEE-3 Reboot fans. One of our volunteers, Karl-Max Wagner from Germany has an interesting idea. Did the Nitrogen pressurizing gas dissolve in the Hydrazine in the tanks?"
Update: We spent all day yesterday with space propulsion experts. We have identified a series of options including hydrazine tank heating and a long series of pulse attempts to (possibly) clear the lines. We have most certainly not given up on this spacecraft yet. It is doing science and will continue to do so for years to come.
"Our troubleshooting today eliminated some suspected causes of propulsion system problems. We do not think any of the valves are malfuctioning. Right now we think there is a chance that the Nitrogen used as a pressurant for the monopropellant Hydrazine propulsion system may have been depleted. That said, we still have a number of troubleshooting options yet to be explored. We have a DSN pass scheduled for Friday that will allow us to recalibrate our location information and trajectory plans for ISEE-3. Even if the L-1 halo orbit is no longer an option, we do have plans to use ISEE-3 for science in other locations within the inner solar system after the lunar flyby on 10 August."
- ISEE-3 Current Location 21 June 2014
- Worldwide Audience for ISEE-3 TCM Burn
- Top 12 visiting countries for #ISEE3 Telemetry mirror server of today @ISEE3Reboot 1/2
- Rest of the visiting countries for #ISEE3 Telemetry mirror server of today @ISEE3Reboot 2/2
In Effort to Shift Abandoned NASA Craft, a Hiccup (or Burp), New York Times
"The first part of the maneuver succeeded, a milestone in an effort to resurrect a zombie spacecraft that NASA abandoned 17 years ago. But then -- perhaps to be expected during work on a jalopy -- problems cropped up, and the thrusters failed to fire properly. Another attempt to complete the course correction will be made Wednesday. "I feel like it is taunting us sometimes," Keith Cowing, one of the leaders of the effort, said of the 36-year-old spacecraft, the International Sun-Earth Explorer-3, or ISEE-3. It is not NASA commanding the spacecraft now, but a group of civilians working in a former McDonald's in California taking advantage of technological goodies of the 21st century, including Skype, Twitter, laptop computers and crowdsourcing."
"If all goes according to plan on Tuesday, 8 July, we will conduct the Trajectory Correction Maneuver (TCM). This will require a much longer firing of the spacecraft's thrusters. Our window at Arecibo opens at 12:42 pm EDT and extends until 3:29 pm EDT. If the burn is a success we will follow up with another ranging session using the DSN to get an exact measure of the spacecraft's position, trajectory, and speed. After that we should be good to go for our lunar flyby on 10 August. After the last technical tag-up for today it looks like TCM will be 432-435 pulses fired in 7 segments with a total delta V of approximately 7 m/sec."
Keith's update: We managed to conduct the first segment but encountered problems with the second and halted the remainder of segment firings. We're looking at data and formulating a plan for tomorrow.
Keith's 2 July note: We just fired the engines on ISEE-3 to perform a spin-up burn. Preliminary results confirm the burn and a change in rotation. The spin rate was originally 19.16 rpm. It is now at 19.76 rpm. The original mission specifications call for 19.75 +/- 0.2 rpm - so we are exactly where we wanted to be.
Keith's 7 July update: We are planning to try and do our Trajectory Correction Maneuver burn tomorrow. Arecibo window extends from 12:42pm - 3:29pm EDT. Follow along at @ISEE3Reboot
"Ed Smith, Original Original Principal Investigator on ISEE-3 Vector Helium Magnetometer: The effort to recapture the ISEE-/ ICE spacecraft has just achieved a notable scientific success. Data recovered from the spacecraft very recently show that the magnetometer is not only operating well but has observed a large rapid change in the Interplanetary Magnetic Field/IMF."
Keith's note: We were able to use the B transmitter today for the first time but were unable to complete the various steps needed to command ISEE-3 to fire its engines. There is a chance of a window at Arecibo tomorrow. Meanwhile, the first scientific measurements by ISEE-3 in decades have been obtained. Recent magnetometer data from ISEE-3 shows clear evidence of a recent solar event. We will be releasing more information on these observations very soon.
Keith's 26 June Update: Just as our DSN window closed today we were able to get 2 way Doppler lock and ranging at a 47.5 kHz offset. DSN got the four ranging points needed from ISEE-3. This is the first time since 1999 that DSN has talked to the spacecraft. A follow-up session tomorrow should get us a lot more recording time. Hats off to the DSN guys - especially the folks at DSS-24.
Keith's 27 June Update: We had an even greater DSN pass today with ISEE-3. We managed to get ~30 minutes of data (11 range points) after achieving 2 way Doppler lock and ranging at a 47.5 kHz offset.
"During our session with Arecibo today we came very, very close to firing the thrusters on ISEE-3 for its spin-up maneuver. But we were not able to complete the process and fire the thrusters. The spacecraft was completely configured for a thruster firing during today's pass. We reduced the number of pulses from 11 to 1 to make certain that we had the proper commands in place. If that engine firing proceeded successfully we'd follow with the remaining 10 pulses so as to spin up the spacecraft to the required rotation rate. As it happened we were unable to get confirmation on the very last command and put a halt to the procedure."
Keith's note: We have another window opening at Arecibo around 1:30 pm EDT. We'll be live tweeting at @ISEE3Reboot.
Keith's Update: Our Arecibo pass was a short one and we had some commanding issues - so no spin-up burn. Our DSN pass for ranging starts at 4:50 pm EDT - you can see ISEE-3 listed on the DSN live page.
ISEE-3 Status Report 23 June 2014: DSN Ranging & Spin Up Update, ISEE-3 Reboot Project
"The DSN pass last week on 18 June that went from 1:45 to 2:45 Pacific Daylight time was not a success. Here is a recap of the pass activity. ... Friday June 20th we were going to do the propulsion system test and spin up maneuver. However, one of our pass/fail criterion was real time telemetry and reliable commanding. Neither of these criterion were met and thus we cancelled that activity early in the pass."
Are You Ready For Liftoff?, Forbes
"Once the ISEE-3 campaign was launched and promoted by Sky Corp and Space Ref Interactive, 2,238 supporters weighed in, raising $160, 000, $35,000 more than the project's goal. The project went from the improbable to the practical, and this is the transition on the forefront of every entrepreneurs mind. How can you do the same? ... Is this the path for you and your company? It could well be if you can meet the market with the thrust of the ISEE-3 campaign. If you can, your charity, reward or equity funding has a good chance of achieving liftoff."
Keep an eye on @ISEE3Reboot for updates
Keith's update: We had to scrub ISEE-3 spin-up burn for today. We can't confirm receipt of commands in real time by the spacecraft. If we cannot confirm that proper commands were sent to propulsion system we cannot fire thrusters with full confidence. Remember: this spacecraft does not have a computer. All 21 dummy commands worked - that should NOT have happened. Next time we sent them only 3 were accepted. Investigating ...
Keith's note: If you go to the DSN NOW page you will see ISEE-3 (ICE) lined up ready for ranging at DSS-24 at Goldstone. Our ranging session starts at 1:45 pm PDT (4:45 pm EDT) and will last for an hour. We'll try and post real time updates on Twitter at @ISEE3Reboot
Keith's update: We did not have any luck establishing two-way communication between ISEE-3 and DSN today. We'll regroup and try again on Sunday. This does not affect our plan to do a short series of engine burns on 21 June (Saturday) to spin up the spacecraft.
"We have received confirmation from NASA that we have been confirmed for time on the DSN (Deep Space Network) for two-way Doppler and ranging activities with the ISEE-3 spacecraft. This is being done so as to determine the location of ISEE-3 with great precision for navigation purposes. Based on this data we will conduct our course correction engine firing. We have moved that original firing date from 17 June to a window that currently covers 30 June and 2 July."
Calling Back a Zombie Ship From the Graveyard of Space, New York Times (front page story)
"After 36 years in space, the craft, the International Sun-Earth Explorer-3, appears to be in good working order. The main challenge, the engineers say, is figuring out how to command it. No one has the full operating manual anymore, and the fragments are sometimes contradictory."
"NASA has given us approval to fire the spin thrusters on ISEE-3 to increase its spin from 19.16 rpm up to the mission specification of 19.75 +/- 0.2 rpm."
ISEE-3 Reboot Project Is Already a Winner, editorial, Space News
"Inspiration is a word that gets bandied about a lot in the space business, often as justification for multibillion-dollar programs that never come to fruition, let alone inspire. ... Whatever the final outcome, the ISEE-3 Reboot Project has already succeeded in attracting an audience that the space community often has a hard time reaching. Credit the team, for having the vision and gumption to pull this off, and NASA, which hasn't always embraced these types of nontraditional endeavors. Together they have shown how prolific a little inspiration can be."
"Viljo Allik, ES5PC, a member of ESTCube-1 student satellite team at Tartu Observatory, Estonia writes: "I did some receiving experiments today, both on 2217.5 MHz LHCP and 2270.4 MHz RHCP. The RHCP carrier is a few dB-s stronger than LHCP. Up to 10 dB carrier to noise can be seen in 1Hz bandwidth with my 4.5 m moonbounce dish at home and G4DDK preamp."
@eb3frn #ISEE3 4Hz in 30 minutes spin observed in the signal recorded today with doppler compensated.
As many of you have probably read, the ISEE-3 Reboot Project was able to successfully send uplink commands to the space craft. This was accomplished through a lot of team work, strong leadership by Dennis Wingo, and generous support from the community at large. Balint Seeber and I were fortunate enough to work on the communications for this project. When you tell most people that you designed a deep-space uplink modulator in a couple of days, there is a good chance that they will be fairly impressed.
"Communicating with a space probe using SDR: The @ISEE3Reboot Project" , presentation by Balint Seeber, Ettus Research (PDF)
This is the moment of First Contact with ISEE-3 last week at Arecibo. Austin Epps is on the left, Balint Seeber (doing the happy dance) is on the right. Dennis Wingo (on the phone) was up in the dome on the dish. Meanwhile, Keith was in his basement office answering media inquires while watching this all live via Skype, but he still took time out for his own happy dance.
"We are doing a receive run - NOW - from Arecibo controlled via laptop from ISEE-3 Mission Control at McMoons in northern California. Taking data received on 29 May 2014, we have performed demodulation, error correction, and frame construction. Approximately 1,000 frames of telemetry have been received and processed. 773 Frames were received with no errors. More telemetry processing is currently underway."
"We have received authorization from NASA to communicate with (and command) ISEE-3 until 25 June. Meanwhile, analysis of telemetry from ISEE- 3 shows that *ALL* of its science instruments are still powered on. Telemetry also shows that ISEE-3 has a power margin of +28 watts - after 36 years. It is important to note that ISEE-3 has not had a functioning battery for decades. Indeed, this power capacity is what was projected for the spacecraft to have had in 1982 after 4 years in space."
"Telemetry we have received from ISEE-3 shows that it is spinning at 19.16 rpm. The mission specification is 19.75 +/- 0.2 rpm. We have also learned that the spacecraft's attitude relative to the ecliptic is 90.71 degrees - the specification is 90 +/- 1.5 degrees. In addition, we are now receiving information from the spacecraft's magnetometer."
"If we can maneuver the spacecraft by June 17th we get the very small delta V number for the maneuver above. However, this starts to climb rapidly as the spacecraft gets closer to the moon. Also we cannot at this time rule out a lunar impact. It is imperative that we get a ranging pass as soon as possible. We also need time to not only evaluate the health of the spacecraft, but to test the systems, the catalyst bed heaters for the propulsion system, the valve heaters, analyze the rest of the propulsion, power, and attitude control system as rapidly as possible. This will be a lot of commanding so we have to move into high gear next week."
"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."
Dennis Wingo was up in the dome when the earthquake hit Arecibo. He doesn't need any more coffee today #ISEE3— ISEE3 Reboot Project (@ISEE3Reboot) May 28, 2014
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.
ISEE-3 Reboot Project: Updates From the Front at Arecibo, Dennis Wingo
"The error in position has just elevated the concern level greatly. We know approximately what the offset error is from the existing ephemeris but we don't have enough information yet to plot a new course and generate a new ephemeris file. This has become extremely important as there is a solid statistical chance that the spacecraft could impact the moon or even be off course enough to threaten other spacecraft in Earth orbit."
Citizen scientists seek access to sleeping satellite, CBS (video)
"A first of its kind mission to wake up a sleeping satellite is underway. As Mark Albert explains, Keith Cowing and a team of 20 convinced NASA for the first time to turn over the satellite to a group of space enthusiasts."
Keith's note: Our ISEE-3 Reboot Project crowd funding campaign just ended.
We raised $159,502 - 128% of our original goal.
Time to wake up a disco-era spacecraft and make it do science again!
"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."
Keith's note: We have passed our initial $125,000 goal - and our $150,000 'stretch' goal. First Contact with ISEE-3 is imminent i.e. hours/days. Please consider helping this project at http://rkthb.co/42228.
Asked if the goal was to resume science or just prove that it could be done, Cowing said "it's both." "Why not try it? We told people up front it's iffy, and we've gotten over $150,000 now from people and they knew exactly what the risk was. And, it's cool. The factor that's motivated a lot of people is 'why not?'" As for the potential science, "we're going to do our best to make sure whatever comes back from that spacecraft is on line as fast as we can get it online, that it's open to anyone."
If there was any doubt about whether modern Americans were still enamored with space, the results of their crowdfunding campaign squash it. The group blew through their $100,000 goal, and are currently getting close to a $150,000 stretch goal. There are only two days left to donate--and you should--but the fact that they've raised so much money in so short a time is remarkable.
"The following are screenshots of data from the live receive session we did with our Ettus Research Software Defined Radio unit attached to the Arecibo antenna today (19 May). "Waterfalls" were generated by post-processing the recorded data. There are four recordings of various lengths as we were testing the setup, and this is the very, very initial result."
Keith's note: The ISEE-3 Away Team is onsite at Arecibo: Dennis Wingo, Balint Seeber, Austin Epps. A month ago when we started (14 April) we had $0.00. Today the team is installing hardware on the antenna.
Now that we've passed our initial goal of $125,000, we have asked for an extension to our crowd funding effort - a "stretch goal" of $150,000. As we developed the software, hardware, and procedures needed to contact and command the ISEE-3 spacecraft, it became clear to us that getting additional information on the precise location of the spacecraft was of great value. The best way to do that is to use NASA's DSN (Deep Space Network). Since NASA is not funding our project, we'd need to pay them for this activity. Based on the time we'd need to use the DSN, $25,000 is a very good estimate. We're already close to
$132,000 $135,000 $136,000 $143,000. So, if you have not yet donated, here's your chance.
First Contact will occur very soon (we hope) within the next week. Please consider helping this project at http://rkthb.co/42228.
"Today's update regards the progress of the ISEE-3 Reboot Project team in our preparations to contact the spacecraft. We started this effort 32 days ago on on April 12, 2014. Below is what we have accomplished in that time - and the challenges that lie ahead. Perhaps the toughest part of doing something like this in a very limited timespan is to climb the learning curve - and to do so with a spacecraft you knew very little about. Early on we did a preliminary evaluation of the spacecraft and its systems so as to better understand it. This was a long jump into deep water. As we did with our Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (concerns the 1960s era Lunar Orbiter spacecraft) the search for ISEE-3 documents has been intense and not without failure."
Space Hackers Prepare to Reboot 35-Year-Old Spacecraft , IEEE Spectrum
"Ettus has volunteered to help with the programming, and one member of the company will join Wingo in Arecibo. They'll set to work there on 19 May, using a 400-watt transmitter shipped in from Germany to try to make contact with the spacecraft."
"A pair of space geeks quarterbacking an effort to bring a derelict NASA spacecraft back into orbit around Earth expect NASA on May 13 to legally bless their privately funded project to recover and restart the 36 year-old International Sun/Earth Explorer-3. "We expect the Space Act Agreement to be signed tomorrow," Dennis Wingo, president of Moffett Field, California-based Skycorp Inc. wrote in a May 12 email. "
Keith's note: We just passed the
$116,000 $117,000 $118,000 $120,000 $121,000 $125,000 point in our crowd funding campaign. There is still much more yet to be done on this bare bones effort. First Contact is very soon. Please consider helping this project at http://rkthb.co/42228.
Keith's note: We just passed the $112,000 point in our crowd funding campaign - 90% We started 27 days ago with nothing. We still need to reach $125,000. Please consider helping this project at http://rkthb.co/42228.
Our large transmitter is undergoing final assembly. Our software defined radio hardware was delivered to ISEE-3 Mission Control last week - more information here: Ettus Research Helps Power ISEE-3 Reboot Effort
On 10 August 2014 we'll be flying less than 50 km over the lunar surface. Join us.
"In 2014 this venerable spacecraft returns to Earth's orbit and our primary objective is to regain control of the spacecraft and command its engines to fire on a trajectory that will result in a capture into a permanent Earth orbit. Following this, we hope to return the spacecraft to science operations, using its instruments as they were originally designed. The data from the spacecraft will be open to the public and will be used by the heliophysics community and will be a tool for teaching operations and science data gathering from a spacecraft by students and the public. In the following sections we will detail the engineering objectives of the project until it is in its final Earth orbit."
Keith's note: We just passed $90,000. We still need to reach $125,000. Please consider helping this project at http://rkthb.co/42228
ISEE-3 Reboot Project Technical Update 1 May 2014, Dennis Wingo
"Today is May 1, 2014, the 17th day after we started our RocketHub project to raise $125,000 to allow us to attempt to contact, evaluate, and command the International Sun-Earth Explorer-3 (ISEE-3) spacecraft to fire its engines in such a way as to return it to Earth orbit after a swing-by of the Moon on August 10 2014. Today I want to discuss some of the technical issues and hurdles that we face in bring this spacecraft back into a stable Earth orbit. I am leaving out the experiments for the time being as we have to focus on the engineering required before we get to that part."
To Save A Satellite, Former NASA Guy Takes Crowdfunding To Space, NPR All Things Considered story
"ISEE-3/ICE is a satellite that was once used to monitor space weather, but it's been unused for decades. NASA doesn't want to spend the money to bring it back to life, but Cowing and his colleagues are determined to do it. If they can raise $125,000 on a crowdfunding site called RocketHub, Cowing says they'll contact ISEE-3/ICE, wake it up and put it back to good use."
Keith's update: We have reached 50% of our goal $62,500. This is the result of 1,032 donors - the vast majority of whom donated between $10 and $50. Our PR has been almost exclusively non-space media. I think this speaks to an interest in space that is outside the usual areas/groups that everyone seems to focus on. Visit the crowdfunding site at Rockethub to help push toward 100%.
"The International Sun/Earth Explorer 3 probe was originally launched in 1978, and in the decades since it has studied solar winds and magnetic fields and even flown through the tail of Halley's comet in 1986. NASA used the craft for all kinds of studies over the years, until it was decommissioned in 1999."
"So what happens once communication is re-established with ISEE-3? With 12 of its 13 scientific instruments still working (at least as of 1999), the research team hopes to turn the spacecraft and its instruments over to the public by creating an app that allows anyone access to its data."
Keith's note: The project just passed the $50,000 mark. More than 840 people have donated - the vast majority making donations in the $10 - $50 range. For more information, have a look at the ISEE-3 Reboot Project crowdfunding page.
How to Resurrect a 35-Year-Old Spacecraft, Popular Mechanics
"Wingo and Cowing started a RocketHub crowdfunding effort to raise $125,000 for the mission. They've also been hunting for the right parts to get the communications systems back online. "I was Dumpster diving at a storage unit with Bob Farquhar last week, pulling stuff out of boxes, and I FedExed a $200 overnight box to California," Cowing says. And like they did with the Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project, they've been able to tap in to the expertise of the original mission specialists, as well as a robust online community that seems quite adept at making the right documents appear when they're needed."
Crowdfunding the recovery of a lost spacecraft, Make: Magazine
"The hackers behind the Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project have moved on to a different challenge. Not content with images, this time they want to recover a whole spacecraft. The ISEE-3 probe was launched in 1978."
"Good news is, the team is led by Dennis Wingo and Keith Cowing, who have some serious credentials under their belt. These long-time collaborators head the Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project, which digitizes analog data tapes from unmanned lunar orbiters sent to space in the 1960's. Also, Wingo is the founder of Skycorp, which has developed equipment for NASA and DARPA in the past, while Cowing is former NASA employee."
"A band of space hackers and engineers are trying to do something never done before -- recover a 36 year old NASA spacecraft from the grips of deep space and time. With old NASA documents and Rockethub crowdfunding, a team led by Dennis Wingo and Keith Cowing is attempting to steer ISEE-3, later rechristened ICE, the International Cometary Explorer, back into an Earth orbit and return it to scientific operations."
Keith's update: Our team member Mike Loucks at Space Exploration Engineering has produced this video showing how ISEE-3 will be returned to a useful orbit. You can view the video here.
Keith's update: We REALLY Need this document: GSFC Document ISEE-733-74-001, Revision C, dated 28 June1976 "International Sun-Earth Explorer - A/C, Electrical Interface Specification". Does anyone have a copy?
Keith's note: We have had multiple folks ask if we have any received data telemetry tapes from ISEE-3 or the others in the series (ISEE-1 or ISEE-2). If anyone has any of these tapes it would be incredibly useful as we could then feed them into our software radio program. We have the ability to read a lot of different formats as that is what we have been doing with the Lunar Orbiter and the Nimbus data recovery efforts. If anyone has them squirreled away in boxes anywhere it would be great to know about. Send an email to wingod - at - skycorpinc.com if you have any information on possible tapes.
Help us make ISEE-3 do science again at http://rkthb.co/42228