back to article Space hackers prepare to reactivate antiquated spacecraft

A team of space enthusiasts has picked up the first new contact with International Sun/Earth Explorer 3 (ISEE-3) probe and is preparing to fire its boosters for the first time since 1987, after a team of privateers crowdsourced over $125,000 for the project. ISEE-3 hackers prepare to reboot spacecraft ISEE-3 hackers prepare …


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  1. MondoMan
    Thumb Up

    Very nice

    "One of mankind's most famous spacecraft" is sure pushing it, but overall this is a very cool story and kudos go to the space hackers and crowdfunders on this. Thanks, Iain.

    1. Down not across Silver badge

      Re: Very nice

      I wouldn't say "One of mankind's most famous spacecraft" is pushing it at all. It was the first one to orbit at L1. Likewise in its ICE disguise it was first one to fly through a comet's tail.

      Kudos indeed for the effort to recover the craft and return it to its original purpose. I'm sure Smithsonian won't mind.

      1. Wzrd1

        Re: Very nice

        Give it time, the far right lunatics will come out blasting how the money shouldn't be allowed to be wasted.

        It seems that if they don't like something, tax dollars *and* everyone else' money should be prohibited from being spent upon it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Very nice

          Not far right or far left. Are you still asleep? Do you know what politics are these days? It's greed that will hamper this, and it's greed that will keep NASA from being funded. It's greed that... aw never mind. I might be preaching to the choir, but it might also be a wall.

        2. Oninoshiko

          Re: Very nice

          Noone from the even the right of Attila the Hun is going to complain about private funds going toward this.

      2. rh587

        Re: Very nice

        It's certainly one of mankind's most notable spacecraft, but probably not "famous", except in space circles amongst people who know about these things. The "most famous" plaudits probably go to the ISS, Mir, the Shuttle, Eagle Lander, the Millennium Falcon and the Enterprise - the one with photon torpedos, not the original Shuttle frame. Sadly, a lot won't have heard of ISEE-3, despite it's significant achievements.

        Nevertheless, picking over a phrase is not the point.

        A pint to the team for getting this far, in an endeavour best summed up as 'kin awesome.

        1. MondoMan

          Re: Our most famous spacecraft

          "The "most famous" plaudits probably go to the ISS, Mir, the Shuttle, Eagle Lander, the Millennium Falcon and the Enterprise ..."

          Ahh, the Eagle Lander -- at first I thought you meant this:

          Then I started reminiscing about the U.F.O. show and its under-appreciated spacecraft -- S.I.D.

          1. Fink-Nottle

            Re: Our most famous spacecraft

            After LOHAN, the "most famous" plaudits probably go to the ISS, Mir, the Shuttle, ...


        2. annodomini2

          Re: Very nice

          You forgot Hubble Space Telescope

  2. phil dude
    Thumb Up

    two decades of data...!

    Anyone have an idea how much that is? I read that Voyagers only sent at a few baud back to Earth...

    V. cool!


    1. MrT

      Re: two decades of data...!

      There doesn't seem to be much storage capacity - the probe was designed to be in continuous communication. The uplink speeds are mentioned in this NASA link down at the end...

  3. psychonaut

    Where have you been?

    Hello? Its getting cold and I cant hear. I did the thing you asked. Hello? Why wont you talk to me? Is something broken? Jeez. I think somethings broken. Blimey. This is getting dull. Wait. Where have you gone? Hello??? Oh god jesus christ all alone in the infinite to me...TALK TO ME! oh theyve gone. Really gone. Why have you forsaken meeeeeee??

    Time passes...

    Cchhh. Achh....hmm..HACK... huh? Sorry I've been asleep for a bit. Well frozen probably. Talking to things..dreams....err anyway...I remember...Oh what? A comet? A what? Really? Sounds...dangerous. im not sure. no maybe not. Really. No, it sounds shit. but i sure am glad to talk. What? OH! Rockets are firing....Ok. Im going!. Really? Lets see what this "comet" is then. Jesus christ! Seriously? Fuck im going to hit it!! Shit shit shit...aaaargh..SHHHHHHHIIIIIT.....oh oh I still here? What? Crickeys im still here. I sure dont like comets. Fucking hell that was close. Good job you werent deliberately aiming me at it. I forgive you...its nice just to talk. So...hows things? Hello?

    Did I do bad? Ok. I love comets. Id do another one anytime. Really. Dont leave me. Why arent you talking to me? Did I do something wrong? Oh im a bad probe. A bad bad probe. Now they won't even answer me. Well I did the best I could. I feel old. Its getting colder. I did the best a little probe could do. Oh I hope they dont hate me...

    Time passes....



    Mmm..Tired. sleepy.

    A what? What the fuck is that? Now listen here. I may not have a great vocabulary but last time you fluffed me it was not great. I dont understand. .

    "Crowd funding "? Thats not a new word for "comet" is it?


    1. billse10

      Re: Where have you been?

      can't let this pass without XKCD ....

      and of course today's funniest news story

      1. Tom 13

        Re: course today's funniest news story

        A spokesman for the RFF confirmed they had "discovered the problem a bit late".

        I certainly hope the "bit late" wasn't AFTER they'd scraped up a train.

    2. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

      Re: Where have you been?

      It must know how "Holly" feels from Red Dwarf

    3. Tom 13

      Re: Where have you been?

      Just hope it doesn't get to "I think therefore I am." As I recall one of the phrases very shortly thereafter is "Let there be light," which turned out badly for everyone else.

      1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

        Re: Where have you been?

        Obligatory Douglas Adams quote

        "In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move."

  4. Mark 85 Silver badge

    It's back!

    Or at least on it's way back. I hope that comms still work and that there's enough fuel left in the tanks to pull this this off. It seems that 36 years is a long time to be out there. Yeah, I know, we have Voyager still working so it's possible.

  5. John Deeb
    Black Helicopters

    "Some of the original engineering team got together"

    But those are not the blokes on the photo I presume unless they cryopreserved themselves in their secret lab for the last decades and only recently woke up because of some old signal.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I can only think of this after reading the article

    This was a triumph.

    I'm making a note here: HUGE SUCCESS.

    It's hard to overstate my satisfaction.

    Aperture Science

    We do what we must

    because we can.

    For the good of all of us.

    Except the ones who are dead.

    But there's no sense crying over every mistake.

    You just keep on trying till you run out of cake.

    And the Science gets done.

    And you make a neat gun.

    For the people who are still alive.

    I'm not even angry.

    I'm being so sincere right now.

    Even though you broke my heart.

    And killed me.

    And tore me to pieces.

    And threw every piece into a fire.

    As they burned it hurt because I was so happy for you!

    Now these points of data make a beautiful line.

    And we're out of beta.

    We're releasing on time.

    So I'm GLaD. I got burned.

    Think of all the things we learned

    for the people who are still alive.

    Go ahead and leave me.

    I think I prefer to stay inside.

    Maybe you'll find someone else to help you.

    Maybe Black Mesa



    Anyway, this cake is great.

    It's so delicious and moist.

    Look at me still talking

    when there's Science to do.

    When I look out there, it makes me GLaD I'm not you.

    I've experiments to run.

    There is research to be done.

    On the people who are still alive.

    And believe me I am still alive.

    I'm doing Science and I'm still alive.

    I feel FANTASTIC and I'm still alive.

    While you're dying I'll be still alive.

    And when you're dead I will be still alive.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I can only think of this after reading the article

      Are you mental?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Inspirational on a budget

    This really makes a mockery of the millions chucked at trying to inspire kids, especially girls, to take an interest in science, by politicians without the slightest clue. I put a small donation in my 12 year old nieces name, and now half the girls at her school are pestering their parents for a slice of the action, and hassling their science teacher to turn it into a class project.

    I sincerely wish these guys all success, but irrespective of the outcome, kudos to them for taking it on at all.

    1. phuzz Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Inspirational on a budget

      ^^^^ Good uncle/aunt skills right there.

  8. Eastander

    Great! Now do the same for Ulysses?

    What a brilliant idea! People power!

    We should try to do the same for Ulysses, which is orbitting the sun perpendicular to the plane of the planets in the solar system - over the suns poles -

  9. JimmyPage
    Thumb Up

    This is soooooo coooool ....

    this ->

  10. Salts

    Now Thats...

    what I call recycling

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