Tags: stereo b | spacecraft | contact | reestablished | nasa | deep space network

STEREO-B Spacecraft Contact Re-established by NASA's Deep Space Network

Image: STEREO-B Spacecraft Contact Re-established by NASA's Deep Space Network

(NASA)

By    |   Tuesday, 23 Aug 2016 02:05 PM

NASA's STEREO-B spacecraft, which lost contact with the agency nearly two years ago, responded to attempts to reestablish communication on Sunday.

STEREO-B, which stands for Solar and Terrestrial Relations Observatory-Behind, is one-half of twin spaceships orbiting the sun. NASA lost contact with STEREO-B on Oct. 1, 2014, and it successfully used its Deep Space Network to connect with it again, noted the space agency.

NASA's Deep Space Network tracks and communicates with its missions throughout space.

"The [Deep Space Network] established a lock on the STEREO-B downlink carrier at 6:27 p.m. [Eastern Time]," the NASA statement said. "The downlink signal was monitored by the mission operations team over several hours to characterize the attitude of the spacecraft and then transmitter high voltage was powered down to save battery power."

"The STEREO mission operations team plans further recovery processes to assess observatory health, re-establish attitude control, and evaluate all subsystems and instruments," the statement continued.

Communication with STEREO-B was initially lost while testing the spacecraft's command loss timer. The spacecraft's researchers were testing the function in preparation for when the ship's line of sight to Earth would be blocked by the sun, a position called solar conjunction.

NASA said in a statement on Tuesday that it believes that spacecraft had malfunctioned, resulting in a spin, but the space agency did not want to de-spin it because it could "result in saturation and subsequent autonomous momentum dump, for which the spacecraft has not yet been prepared."

The space agency said that the STEREO-A spacecraft continued to work normally on its mission during this time.

"Launched in 2006, the STEREO mission featured two spacecraft – STEREO-A and STEREO-B – designed to monitor solar activity from different locations, one 'ahead' in its orbit and one 'behind,' allowing scientists to see the entire star, not just the side facing Earth," wrote CBS News.

"The spacecraft were built and are managed by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland. Years beyond the original two-year mission duration, the spacecraft reached positions in their orbit relative to the sun and Earth where they would be on the far side of the star and out of direct contact with Earth for up to three months," it explained.

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NASA's STEREO-B spacecraft, which lost contact with the agency nearly two years ago, responded to attempts to reestablish communication on Sunday.
stereo b, spacecraft, contact, reestablished, nasa, deep space network
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2016-05-23
Tuesday, 23 Aug 2016 02:05 PM
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