ISEE-3/ICE spacecraft fires thrusters for a return to Earth

ISEE-3 - ICE Spacecraft - Image credit NASA

ISEE-3 – ICE Spacecraft – Image credit NASA

AMSAT-DL report a team of engineers, space enthusiasts and radio amateurs have succeeded in firing the thrusters of the NASA-abandoned ISEE-3/ICE spacecraft.

The plan on Tuesday, July 8, was to fire the thrusters for a total of 7 sequences with breaks for telemetry analysis. While this would have resulted in a velocity change of 7 m/s, the course correction is required for the lunar swing-by on Aug 10, 2014 then to enter a stable orbit around Earth. However after the first firing sequence the remaining sequences were cancelled due to the returned telemetry data, which is being analyzed. A second attempt was planned for July 9.

The ISEE-3 Reboot Project (IRP) team attempted this main trajectory correction maneuver following a first short thruster firing on July 2, which increased the rotation rate of the spacecraft to the required value. This was possible due to international collaboration between the IRP, and a team of AMSAT-DL and Bochum observatory with its 20 m diameter radio telescope which received and processed critical real-time data of the maneuvers.

Amateur Radio Facility at Bochum

Amateur Radio Facility at Bochum

While the IRP has access to the Arecibo observatory which, at 305 m diameter, is the largest single-dish radio telescope in the world, downlink support from Bochum is required as Arecibo cannot transmit and receive simultaneously.

Two members of the AMSAT-DL Bochum team will be giving presentations on their reception of ISEE-3 at the AMSAT-UK International Space Colloquium on Saturday, July 26, 2014 at the Holiday Inn, Guildford, GU2 7XZ, United Kingdom. The event is open to all, further details at https://amsat-uk.org/colloquium/colloquium-2014/

Real-time telemetry from ISEE-3 is displayed at http://amsat-dl.org/

ISEE-3 http://spacecollege.org/isee3

Read the Daily Mail story at
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2684345/Zombie-spacecraft-rescued-abyss-fires-thrusters-time-20-years.html

ISEE-3 Spacecraft Reboot Project Update

ISEE-3 - ICE Spacecraft - Image credit NASA

ISEE-3 – ICE Spacecraft – Image credit NASA

Dennis Wingo KD4ETA has released an update on the attempts by volunteers, including radio amateurs, to gain control of the NASA ISEE-3 spacecraft.

The International Sun-Earth Explorer (ISEE-3), a spacecraft that was launched in 1978 to study Earth’s magnetosphere and repurposed in 1983 to study two comets. Renamed the International Cometary Explorer (ICE), it has been in a heliocentric orbit since then, traveling just slightly faster than Earth. It’s finally catching up to us from behind, and will be closest to Earth in August, 2014.

In his report Dennis says that the spacecraft was successfully commanded into engineering telemetry mode and he mentions the work of radio amateurs Achim Vollhardt DH2VA (AMSAT-DL Bochum) and Phil Karn KA9Q.

[Achim Vollhardt DH2VA and Mario Lorenz DL5MLO plan to attend the AMSAT-UK International Space Colloquium in Guildford July 26-27 to give a presentation of their work. The event is open to all]

Regarding the possibility of Lunar impact Dennis says “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. This is a very fluid situation and we have made amazing progress, thanks to the support of those who believed in us in our crowd funding and the support of our NASA sponsors at NASA Ames and NASA headquarters. More to come soon!!”

Read the report at http://spacecollege.org/isee3/isee-3-reboot-project-update-bullseye-and-more.html

Watch ISEE-3 Reboot Project – Recovering a 30 year old space probe

ISEE-3 / ICE Telecommunications Summary
http://mdkenny.customer.netspace.net.au/ISEE-3.pdf

Dennis Wingo KD4ETA blog http://denniswingo.wordpress.com/

Can radio amateurs command the ISEE-3 / ICE spacecraft ?
https://amsat-uk.org/2014/03/19/can-radio-amateurs-command-the-isee-3-ice-spacecraft/

Radio amateurs receive NASA ISEE-3 / ICE Spacecraft
https://amsat-uk.org/2014/03/09/radio-amateurs-receive-nasa-isee-3ice-spacecraft/

Radio hams help attempts to command NASA spacecraft
https://amsat-uk.org/2014/05/21/radio-hams-help-attempts-to-command-nasa-spacecraft/

ISEE-3/ICE on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ISEE3returns

Radio hams help attempts to command NASA spacecraft

ISEE-3 - ICE Spacecraft - Image credit NASA

ISEE-3 – ICE Spacecraft – Image credit NASA

An IEEE article describes how volunteers, including many radio amateurs, are attempting command a 35-year-old NASA spacecraft, the International Sun-Earth Explorer 3 (ISEE-3).

Rachel Courtland interviews Dennis Wingo KD4ETA about the project and mentions the Bochum facility where AMSAT-DL members will be using their 20 metre dish antenna to help establish communications.

Software-defined radio peripherals built by Ettus Research (founded by Matt Ettus N2MJI) have been purchased, which can be used to implement modulator and demodulator programs that would once have had to be built in hardware.

Read the IEEE article at
http://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/aerospace/satellites/space-hackers-prepare-to-reboot-35-year-old-spacecraft

The Watts Up With That website has a more detailed article on the project. The section about the AMSAT-DL Bochum facility mentions two of the team, Achim Vollhardt DH2VA and Mario Lorenz DL5MLO. The problems caused by ITAR are noted.

Read the Watts Up With That article ISEE-3 Reboot Project: Aiming for First Contact at
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/05/15/update-isee-3-reboot-project-aiming-for-first-contact/

Watch ISEE-3 Reboot Project – Recovering a 30 year old space probe

ISEE-3 / ICE Telecommunications Summary
http://mdkenny.customer.netspace.net.au/ISEE-3.pdf

Dennis Wingo KD4ETA blog http://denniswingo.wordpress.com/

Can radio amateurs command the ISEE-3 / ICE spacecraft ?
https://amsat-uk.org/2014/03/19/can-radio-amateurs-command-the-isee-3-ice-spacecraft/

Radio amateurs receive NASA ISEE-3 / ICE Spacecraft
https://amsat-uk.org/2014/03/09/radio-amateurs-receive-nasa-isee-3ice-spacecraft/

ITAR restrictions on US radio amateurs to be eased
https://amsat-uk.org/2014/05/19/itar-restrictions-to-be-eased/

ISEE-3/ICE on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ISEE3returns

Juno spacecraft QSL cards sent out

Juno Spacecraft QSL Card October 9, 2013

Juno spacecraft QSL card October 9, 2013

Juno QSL cards have been sent out to those radio amateurs who participated in the Juno Earth flyby experiment.

Amateur radio operators sent a very slow CW (1/25 WPM) to NASA’s Juno spacecraft during its Earth flyby on October 9, 2013.

Hams sent “HI” every 10 minutes as Juno approached Earth, and the message was clearly detected several times. The Juno team confirmed that more than 1400 radio hams participated, representing all seven continents.

Data video: http://youtu.be/Vg80vaGj2Gg
Data video & image caption: http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA17744
Mini documentary: http://youtu.be/hg9xY1zvrsw
Archived event page: http://missionjuno.swri.edu/hijuno

Radio hams say Hi to Juno https://amsat-uk.org/2013/10/09/radio-hams-say-hi-to-juno/

Can radio amateurs command the ISEE-3 / ICE spacecraft ?

ISEE-3 - ICE Spacecraft - Image credit NASA

ISEE-3 – ICE Spacecraft – Image credit NASA

Der Spiegel newspaper features an article about the hopes of radio amateurs to transmit commands to control the NASA ISEE-3 / ICE spacecraft.

The newspaper interviewed radio amateurs Achim Vollhardt DH2VA and Thilo Elsner DJ5YM both members of AMSAT-DL.

The article quotes David Dunham as saying “Radio operators have only one attempt. It might take 200 years before ICE is close enough to Earth again”.

Read the Der Spiegel newspaper article in Google English at
http://tinyurl.com/AMSAT-DL-ISEE-3-ICE

Radio amateurs receive NASA ISEE-3 / ICE Spacecraft
https://amsat-uk.org/2014/03/09/radio-amateurs-receive-nasa-isee-3ice-spacecraft/

ISEE-3 Returns https://www.facebook.com/ISEE3returns

Radio amateurs receive Rosetta signals

Computer generated image of Rosetta

Computer generated image of Rosetta

James Miller G3RUH reports reception of the Rosetta spacecraft signal at a distance of 805 million km from Earth using the 20 metre dish at the Bochum amateur radio facility

Bochum Amateur Radio Facility

Amateur Radio Facility at Bochum

On the AMSAT Bulletin Board (AMSAT-BB) James Miller G3RUH writes:

Just a quick note about Rosetta X-band.  I checked it this morning from Bochum.

2014 Jan 21 [Tue] 0934 utc
AZ    172°
El    11°
R    805 Million km
CNR    25.5 dB(Hz)
QRG  8421.786900 MHz at the spacecraft

Rosetta is about 14 dB weaker than Stereo A/B.

The system at Bochum has a G/T approx 40 dB(1/K).

Rosetta signal received by Bertrand Pinel F5PL

Rosetta signal received by Bertrand Pinel F5PL

Bertrand Pinel F5PL, located near Castelnaudary, France, 65km from Toulouse, successfully tracked Rosetta on January 21, 2014 at 10:00 UT, using a 3.5m dish antenna, see
http://blogs.esa.int/rosetta/2014/01/22/radio-amateur-diy-rosetta-tracking/

ESA Rosetta Blog http://blogs.esa.int/rosetta/

ESA on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/EuropeanSpaceAgency