Ahhh a classic song for a classic satellite.
Almost as classic as those shorts! Anyway, 36 years ago, on August 12, 1978, the International Cometary Explorer (ICE) spacecraft (originally known as International Sun/Earth Explorer 3[(ISEE-3)]) satellite, was launched.
It was part of the ISEE (International Sun-Earth Explorer) international cooperative program between NASA and ESRO/ESA to study the interaction between the Earth’s magnetic field and the solar wind.
There were three spacecraft, a mother/daughter pair (ISEE-1 and ISEE-2) and a Heliocentric orbit spacecraft (ISEE-3, later renamed ICE).
On a historical note, ISEE-3 was the first spacecraft to be placed in a halo orbit at one of Earth-Sun Lagrangian points (L1). It was later sent to visit Comet Giacobini-Zinner and Comet Halley, and became the first spacecraft to fly through a comet’s tail. Unfortunately, ICE is not equipped with cameras, so no pretty pictures, but it did gather some great data.
Due to costs, NASA shut down the spacecraft On May 5, 1997, or did they. It turns out that ICE has be fully functioning since the “shutdown” command was sent.
Now a group wants to retrieve the satellite, get it back into position and chase another comet. NASA needs about $125,000 to bring ICE back to life and send it on another comet hunting mission.
So a crowdfunding campaign was started here and has gone passed the half way mark. Most of the funds are from average people (a testament to how much people like space). If they are successful, it would make me revisit my Let’ Buy A Space Station idea. You should also check out the other projects on Rockethub. You might find something that interests you.
Of course you know this post could have been titled ICE, ICE baby.
P.S. you knew this was coming so don’t blame me.
– Ex astris, scientia –
I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine. As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +