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Bringing An Old Spacecraft Back To Life (Update – video, news)

By Keith Cowing
NASA Watch
April 24, 2014
Filed under

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.”
Crowdfunding project aims to bring a forgotten space probe back to life, Engadget
“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.”
Group Wants To Recover 36-Year-Old Historic Spacecraft From Deep Space, Slashdot
“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.
ISEE-3 Reboot Project

NASA Watch founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.

8 responses to “Bringing An Old Spacecraft Back To Life (Update – video, news)”

  1. korichneveygigant says:

    Good Luck Keith, hope all this works out

  2. American Patriot says:

    Too bad the ability to reconfigure WiFi ‘S’ band modules is too difficult, due to ‘hard coding’ of the RF chip. Then design and construct a proper low temperature amplifier and associated filtering ahead and after the amplifier stage, would be a costly endeavor for most. Now if all of this is actually built and operating, comes the antenna and feed system. Gain would have to be well above 100 dB, and the system noise temperature below .05 K. I also do not have access to expensive cryo systems to cool it down, either. Just being involved in even some minor way, would be a huge thrill. My spectrum analyzers and test equipment will remain relegated to land based RF communications systems for now.

  3. objose says:

    Reading all the usual crap on this site for the last few years was made worth while by learning this today. That there are scientist associated with these projects in our world with a 10 second focus time that can think this far ahead, strengthens my faith that humanity will survive the natural and man made perils to come: That network includes Farquhar, now 81 years old, who kept a lot of the documentation from the original ISEE-3 mission. “He foresaw this day.” Wingo says. “This is not just happenstance that this spacecraft is coming back in 2014. They actually planned for this in the 1980s.”

  4. DTARS says:

    And what project will be next?? Isn’t there a little Rover on Mars that is about to be an orphan??