ISEE-3 Reboot Team Unable to Change Spacecraft’s Trajectory

As previously reported, the ISEE-3 Reboot team was having trouble firing thrusters to change the orbit of ISEE-3. A request for help on the Internet brought responses from some of the “most qualified professionals in the world.” They managed to get the thrusters to fire briefly, but were unable to get the propulsion system working. Unfortunately, while it had enough fuel to do a power-up spin to reach its optimal rotation rate, the nitrogen propellant has bled away and the team was not able to change its trajectory. ISEE-3, which was launched in 1978, will resume its heliocentric orbit. The reboot team was able to turn on the science instruments and it is already collecting data.

A collaboration between the ISEE-3 Reboot Project and Google has resulted in the website A Spacecraft For All. The interactive website is best viewed using Google's Chrome browser. It provides graphics showing the ISEE-3 journey, its current location, and a dashboard showing telemetry and data from the science instruments.

The best website for details on ISEE-3 is A posting from August 11 shows the correlation between GOES X-ray flux data and the ISEE-3 plasma wave receiver E-field readings that resulted from solar flares.

Doug Lung

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.