ISEE-3 Reboot Project Hopes to Bring Vintage NASA Satellite Home

Jun 16, 2014 08:29 AM EDT | Matt Mercuro

Engineers who have taken control over NASA's Vintage ISEE-3 Spacecraft satellite are now hoping to bring it home.

If all goes well, the engines will be firing up within a couple of weeks, according to a report by News Tonight Africa.

The 36-year-old ISEE space satellite was used for exploratory missions after being launched in 1978. It was used to study how the stream of charged particles flowing from the sun, or solar wind, interacts with Earth's magnetic field, according to a release issued by Sky & Telescope.

Once it completed its primary mission, the probe was renamed the International Comet Explorer, and was given new targets to study, like Halley's Comet as it passed Earth back in March 1986.

The probe was assigned to investigate solar storms, known as coronal mass ejections, until 1997, when NASA deactivated the spacecraft.

The group, led by NASA space-watcher Dennis Wingo and Keith Cowing, made contact with the satellite in May at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. The operation was halted temporarily since the region experienced a moderate earthquake registering 5.8 on the Richter scale.

The group was trying to redirect the path of the satellite before it got too far away from Earth. Now it seems like they will get their wish.

The team, which called themselves ISEE-3 Reboot Project, successfully launched a crowd-funding project to raise $125,000 to reboot the probe earlier this year after realizing in 2013 that ISEE would be passing within Earth's vicinity in Aug. 2014.

On May 21, NASA gave the project its blessings, and access to technical data to help engineers make contact, according to Reuters.

If all goes well, the ISEE-3 satellite will end up back in its original location to observe solar wind, according to a report by News Telegram.

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