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ISEE-3 Satellite Is Back Under Control 56

brindafella writes: "Over the last two days, the (Reboot Project for the International Sun/Earth Explorer 3 (ISEE-3) satellite has successfully commanded ISEE-3 from Earth, using signals transmitted from the Aricebo Observatory. Signals were also received by cooperating dishes: the 21-meter dish located at Kentucky's Morehead State University Space Science Center; the 20-meter dish antenna in Bochum Observatory, Germany, operated by AMSAT Germany; and SETI's Allen Telescope Array, California. ISEE-3 was launched in 1978, and last commanded in 1999 by NASA. On May 15, 2014, the project reached its crowdfunding goal of US$125,000, which will cover the costs of writing the software to communicate with the probe, searching through the NASA archives for the information needed to control the spacecraft, and buying time on the dish antennas. The project then set a 'stretch goal' of $150,000, which it also met with a final total of $159,502 raised. The goal is to be able to command the spacecraft to fire its engines to enter an Earth orbit, and then be usable for further space exploration. This satellite does not even have a computer; it is all 'hard-wired.'"
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ISEE-3 Satellite Is Back Under Control

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  • Congratulations! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 30, 2014 @10:20AM (#47128501)

    I had written off this project as an impossible dream. Glad to say I was wrong.
    This is an awesome accomplishment.

  • by iggymanz ( 596061 ) on Friday May 30, 2014 @10:30AM (#47128571)

    some gates and circuits to detect and act on series of correct "control tones", the old definition of computer was anything that had input, transformed information, and presented to output (like analog computer, for instance).

    Many young-uns think a "computer" needs to be a certain type of digital system with CPU, memory, IO bus and ports, etc.

    As a young teen I read the manuals for a (defunct) satellite old retired engineer had, funny as electronics hobbyist I could understand it.

  • Holy good gravy... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MrLogic17 ( 233498 ) on Friday May 30, 2014 @10:45AM (#47128699) Journal

    I thought this was all an idealistic dream of some space nerds.
    It looks like they just might pull this off ! I'm seriously impressed!

    And as for not having a computer on board - that probably greatly increases the odds of it working after all these years. Space is harsh on electronics...

  • by brindafella ( 702231 ) <brindafella&gmail,com> on Friday May 30, 2014 @10:48AM (#47128715) Homepage
    > As a young teen I read the manuals for a (defunct) satellite old retired engineer had, funny as electronics hobbyist I could understand it.

    :-) I've been there, too. My first computer was an IBM 1130, with 8kB of 'ram'. From what I can tell, here, we have 0kB and all hard-wired to the devices attached to the receivers and transmitters. The satellite just 'talks' via the transmitter and Earth has to listen, or lose the data. That is "how it was" in 1978 (earlier for the finalisation of the design, and the satellite's set-up of the NSA Deep Space Network ground stations).

Nondeterminism means never having to say you are wrong.