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NASA Forgets How To Talk To ICE/ISEE-3 Spacecraft

Reading this makes me sad. It is terribly indicative of the problems surrounding my industry that I discuss almost daily…documentation, knowledge management, dependencies upon legacy systems.

Here we have history passing us by. Good scientific equipment that could be repurposed and all we can do is wave.

“Can we tell the spacecraft to turn back on its thrusters and science instruments after decades of silence and perform the intricate ballet needed to send it back to where it can again monitor the Sun? Unfortunately the answer to that question appears to be no. ‘The transmitters of the Deep Space Network, the hardware to send signals out to the fleet of NASA spacecraft in deep space, no longer includes the equipment needed to talk to ISEE-3. These old-fashioned transmitters were removed in 1999.’ ”

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