Science and Exploration

ISEE-3 Reboot Project Technical Update

By Keith Cowing
May 1, 2014
Filed under ,
ISEE-3 Reboot Project Technical Update
ISEE-3 Flies Past The Moon
Mark Maxwell/ISEE-3 Reboot Project

Dennis Wingo: Today is May 1, 2014, the 17th day after we started our RocketHub project to raise $125,000 to allow us to attempt to contact, evaluate, and command the International Sun-Earth Explorer-3 (ISEE-3) spacecraft to fire its engines in such a way as to return it to Earth orbit after a swing-by of the Moon on August 10 2014.
If you want to know all of the details, please read my previous posting on this subject here.

Today I want to discuss some of the technical issues and hurdles that we face in bring this spacecraft back into a stable Earth orbit. I am leaving out the experiments for the time being as we have to focus on the engineering required before we get to that part.

First the Good News

The good news is that the team that did the ISEE-3/ICE mission really planned ahead. In 1986 a series of maneuvers were done in three stages that targeted a flyby of the Moon at an altitude of 63 kilometers over the lunar surface on August 10, 2014 at around 8:30 PM UTC. The first series of firings, with a total delta v of 1.51 meters/sec were done on February 27, 1986 when the spacecraft was near perihelion (closest point to the sun), to target the general vicinity of the Earth. The second series of firings were done on April 7 1986 to do a plane change to place the spacecraft on an intersect path to the Moon of ~38 meters/second. The third firing sequence was used to target the desired perilune target plane aim point (to the nearest kilometer of course!) with a 0.4 meter/sec burn that gave the lunar flyby distance of 63 kilometers.

More at Space College

SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.