Citizen scientists take over old NASA satellite, then it runs out of fuel

By on July 15, 2014

Artistic rendering of the ISEE3 (Credit: NASA, via Wikimedia Commons)

An old NASA satellite recently taken over by citizen scientists hoping to use it for research has likely run out of fuel, according to Newser. The ISEE-3, originally taken offline in 1997, is sitting idle after an initial thruster test was successful.

The group had hoped to move the satellite into a position where it could better communicate with Earth, but no such maneuvering seems possible now. But there is one bright spot: The old craft can still communicate with Earth for three months.

So the citizen scientist group has set the satellite in a mode allowing it to send data back to them. Experts say a valve malfunction could have allowed all the fuel in the craft to escape. The first successful thruster test, they say, was probably the result of built-up pressure and residual fuel in the system.

Image: Artistic rendering of the ISEE3 (Credit: NASA, via Wikimedia Commons)

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