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News Link • Space Travel and Exploration

NASA is about to let a bunch of civillians take over a satellite

•, Michael Trei

To be fair, just as any responsible parent wouldn't let a 16-year-old kid take dad's new Corvette for their first drive, NASA isn't handing over the controls to the Hubble telescope or something else really important. In fact, this satellite is the space equivalent of grandma's old 1978 Cadillac that nobody has driven in over a decade.

ISEE-3 was launched way back in 1978, and set in a really high Earth orbit to study solar winds and other solar phenomena. About four years later when its mission was successfully completed, it still appeared to be working perfectly, so NASA sent it off on a couple of new missions to study the tails of two comets. Once it had completed those duties, in 1997 NASA sent it into retirement, shutting down pretty much all of its systems and leaving it in an orbit around the Sun.

Now, just over 17 years later, ICEE-3's orbit is going to bring it closer to Earth than it has been since the Reagan administration. So a group called SpaceCollege working in tandem with a company called Skycorp created the ICEE-s Reboot Project to wake the satellite up from its slumber while it's in the neighborhood and get it working again.

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