"donated the craft to the Smithsonian Museum"
How generous :-)
A team of engineers who helped decode archaic NASA data has moved onto hardware, and is trying to find the cash to recapture the International Sun/Earth Explorer 3 (ISEE-3) probe – the first spacecraft to pass through the tail of a comet – as it swings by Earth. isee3 ISEE-3 under construction at NASA, back when disco was …
'"donated the craft to the Smithsonian Museum" How generous :-)'
Dear Mr. Smithsonian,
You have been specially selected from thousands of eligible entrants to be the lucky recipient of a fantastic free gift!!! Yes, a late seventies solar research satellite can be yours, gratis, for absolutely *nothing!!!
*Plus special delivery charges of $2,999,999,999.99 Terms and conditions may apply.
You are going to see more and more of this as the Baby Boomers retire and pass on. Their legacy may be mixed (being generous here) but any generation over 50 is going to have valuable knowledge humanity might not even know is valuable until its gone. Hopefully the US doesn't forget how to do manned spaceflight again itself.
Nothing new about this if you've ever read any science fiction. Many stories of "the knowledge of the ancestors" or "We've forgotten how to maintain the machines", or "The ancients accomplished great things" I just didn't think we'd be getting there under 40 years from some of the greatest accomplishments of mankind.
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I seem to recall another government project in which all the technology was junked and it was only rescued when those involved came out of retirement and rescued stuff they'd stashed away
Elon Musk held a press conference on Friday 25th April where he accused (or pointed out, depending on how you look at it) ULA of ridiculously overcharging the DOD for their launches and how odd it was that the more-expensive service provider got the lions share of the next wave of launches. Expect fur to (gradually) fly over the next few months.
So now that Elon's starting a PR war with ULA, I don't think he'll have time to spare for this.
"Elon Musk held a press conference on Friday 25th April where he accused (or pointed out, depending on how you look at it) ULA of ridiculously overcharging the DOD for their launches and how odd it was that the more-expensive service provider got the lions share of the next wave of launches. Expect fur to (gradually) fly over the next few month"
That was part of his anger. What really p**sed him off was the Air Force said Spacex could bid on EELV launches, which to that point they bought one at a time. Spacex set to work to demonstrate they are capable of launching USAF payloads below a certain mass and delta V requirement.
Then the USAF turned around and said they'd done a 36 core block buy from ULA and they were cutting the launches they think Spacex can do by 1/2.
The Secretary of the Air Force's behavior in this shall we say seemed "anomalous"?
That sounds like loose change in the grand scheme of things. Don't agencies have special project or contingency funds which could be put to good use here?
It seems it would be a great shame to miss something spectacular for sake of short notice because no one had thought to set aside some cash for that possibility. Perhaps some foreign government may be able to step up to the plate if America is short of cash.
I hope the lesson to be learned here is that you should never junk any technical documentation, even if you've junked most or all of the equipment it was used for. You never know when you'll need to break out the museum piece - or even recover the wayward museum piece.
I hope they sort this out and put this probe back where it belongs, and then line up outside Cape Canaveral, doing pelvic thrusts to the tune of Daft Punk. Because honestly - NASA KNEW this wayward son was coming home, they shouldn't have junked the kit needed to tell it to resume its orbit without figuring out how to emulate it on more modern hardware.
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