A decades-old spacecraft appears to be in great health despite being abandoned in the solar system for the better part of two decades, the private team working to revive the NASA probe says.
All instruments are on and NASA's International Sun/Earth Explorer 3spacecraft, or ISEE-3 for short, is responding to hails from its new command team, which hopes to send the probe on new adventures in deep space.
The team, called the ISEE-3 Reboot Project, is working out of a former McDonald's near NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California. So far, the team has been gathering information on where the spacecraft is moving, how fast it is spinning and how much power it has. [NASA's ISEE-3 Spacecraft in Photos]
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ISEE-3 has ample power (a surplus of 28 watts) and its instruments are all turned on, although how well they are functioning will require further investigation, said team co-leader Keith Cowing.
"We need to understand [the spacecraft] before we fire the engines for the main thrust," he told Space.com. That will likely come on June 17, and it is intended to eventually put ISEE-3 in a stable spot where it can reliably communicate with Earth.