ISEE-3 fires its thrusters for the first time since 1987.

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The private team resurrecting the 1970s space probe ISEE-3 successfully fired its thrusters for the first time since 1987.

It took several attempts and days to perform the roll maneuver because ISEE-3 was not responding to test commands. But this time, controllers got in touch. They increased the roll rate from 19.16 revolutions per minute to 19.76 RPM, putting it within mission specifications for trajectory corrections.

The spacecraft is now prepped for the big burn that will change its trajectory.



  • Don

    The best of American technology, the best of America. What we were; what a mess we are now in. Sad, especially as I write this on the eve of Independence Day.

    Happy Independence Day nonetheless!!!

  • wodun

    ” What we were; what a mess we are now in. Sad”

    We might not be in the best shape atm but consider how awesome it is that private citizens acted on their own interests to make this happen. America is still a place of innovation. Perhaps, some kid building RC “drones” in their garage today will perform a similar mission resurrecting some written off piece of of technology.

  • DK Williams

    Very cool.

  • Orion314

    Indeed, very cool…

  • Edward

    Agreed, wodun. This is why I like that in this country we have 300 million people making decisions about what to do rather than a few people on some central committee making these decisions. Among the 300 million are a few that had the vision, enthusiasm, and tenacity to do this project, and We the People even crowd-funded it as well as volunteered personal time. Yay us!

    The government, however, chose to not fund this project, and it seems to only be involved to the extent that it provides archival data, possibly some antenna time and other incidentals, and individuals within various governments are going above and beyond their calls of duty to assist. Had we relied solely on a government committee, ISEE-3 would have flown right by (or crashed into the moon).

    Thus, it seems to me that We the People are willing and able to rectify the “mess we are now in” when government is less willing to do so.

    I affectionately call the private team (and those assisting by volunteering time, equipment, and money) “space pirates,” despite having NASA’s permission to take control of the satellite, but they are heroes in my mind for doing what a powerful government won’t.

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