NASA `vintage` spacecraft makes lunar flyby
Washington: A NASA `vintage` spacecraft that was launched 36 years ago and is now being handled by a team of retired and active aerospace engineers has successfully completed a return visit to the earth-moon system.
The ISEE-3 spacecraft made its closest approach to the earth Aug 9 and flyby of the moon Aug 10.
The closest approach was 15,600 km from the moon`s surface.
After a lunar flyby, the unmanned probe has now been hurled back into deep space.
With the lunar flyby, California-based Skycorp Inc and Google Creative Labs have announced a revised mission for ISEE-3, Universe Today reported.
ISEE-3 is currently over 20,000 km from the moon and over 370,000 km from earth.
Launched in 1978 and originally tasked with studying the outer reaches of the earth`s magnetosphere, the probe was given a second mission in the 1980s to chase comets before NASA decided to shut it down in 1997.
In April this year, the private "ISEE-3 Reboot Project" started a crowdfunding project that raised $159,502 for the goal of re-establishing contact with the probe.
In an unprecedented move, NASA formally handed over control of ISEE-3 to the group in May.
In the same month, contact was re-established with the abandoned spacecraft and the group carried out a series of tests after ordering the craft to broadcast telemetry back to earth.
The group has established the ISEE-3 Interplanetary Citizen Science Mission that will allow the public access to the data still being transmitted by the craft as it speeds away from earth, reports added.
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