NASA Could Try To Contact ISEE-3/ICE – But It Won’t

From the ISEE-3 Returns Facebook page: Communication involves speaking, listening and understanding what we hear. One of the main technical challenges the ISEE-3/ICE project has faced is determining whether we can speak, listen, and understand the spacecraft and whether the spacecraft can do the same for us. Several months of digging through old technical documents has led a group of NASA engineers to believe they will indeed be able to understand the stream of data coming from the spacecraft.
NASA’s Deep Space Network (DSN) can listen to the spacecraft, a test in 2008 proved that it was possible to pick up the transmitter carrier signal, but can we speak to the spacecraft? 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? 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. Could new transmitters be built? Yes, but it would be at a price no one is willing to spend. And we need to use the DSN because no other network of antennas in the US has the sensitivity to detect and transmit signals to the spacecraft at such a distance.
This effort has always been risky with a low probability of success and a near-zero budget. It is thanks to a small and dedicated group of scientists and engineers that we were able to get as far as we have. Thank you all very much.

Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) Status 6 February 2014

Dennis Wingo Status, February 6th, 2014
Another productive yet frustrating day. We had three tapes that had a lot of RF noise on them from the NASA ground station so three of the medium images today are going to be decidedly suboptimal.
Other than that we started the day with G1-009 and ended with G1-030. That is 22 tapes today!
My brain is too fried to put out the image numbers. I will do it in the morning before I start…
153 tapes to go!

Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) Status 5 February 2014

Dennis Wingo Lunar Orbiter Status, February 5, 2014
Well, we finished the Lunar Orbiter 1 Woomera tapes this morning. At the end there were a couple of test tapes and a couple of captures that were not recorded in any of the NASA documents. We were able to pinpoint which images they were though so we have completed the Woomera captures with an almost 100% capture rate for the medium images and just a few lost frame lets from the few high resolution images that we can make up with the other ground stations.
We started with the Goldstone captures today. The tapes G1-001, 003, and 004 are missing so those are not going to get captured obviously. Since we know very accurately what we have from Woomera we don’t have to do any repeat captures so we were able to eliminate G1-002, 004,5,6, and 007. We captured G1-008 so we got that far today.
I have recalculated how many tapes we have to go based on LO 1 tapes we have captured in the past and the total number of tapes left.
We now have 175 tapes to go!!

Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) Status 4 February 2014

Dennis Wingo Status, late afternoon February 4th, 2014
Well, I almost finished the Woomera tapes for LOI today. Made it through W1-80. Only one tape with images left as it seems that W1-82-84 are training tapes. Will be interesting to see what is on them though!
Will get the numbers out after I get back to work tomorrow. I am speaking at a Google Glass developers event tonight in San Francisco.

Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) Status 3 February 2014

Dennis Wingo Short status, February 3rd, 2014 evening.
Got through tape W1-068 today. That is 19 tapes today, bringing the total number of tapes left down to 219… Sixteen more to go to finish Woomera! I will post the tapes numbers and images in the morning….
Dennis Wingo Status, mid afternoon February 3, 2014
Just a few thoughts before the end of day status this evening. In January of 2014 we set a project record for tapes processed. We did 241 tapes in Jan. That is a LOT of tapes and we will never equal it because as of Friday, there were only 238 tapes left to go in the project!
Today we started with W1-049 and captured it again just in case as it is a spectacular image that we will be showing this week. Right now I am about to mount W1-060, meaning that this is the 11th tape of the day, bringing the total left to go down to 227. Since there are only 84 Woomera tapes in theory I will complete the last Woomera tapes of the project (except for cleanup).