Nasa reconnects with lost spacecraft after almost 2 years
Washington, Aug 23: US space agency Nasa on Sunday (Aug 21) succeeded in reconnecting with STEREO-B spacecraft, its solar Terrestrial Relations Observatories, after almost two years.
The STEREO team worked on re-establishing connect with the spacecraft over the last 22 months after the communications were lost on October 1, 2014. It also attempted a monthly recovery operation using Nasa's Deep Space Network (DSN) which helps in tracking and communicating with missions throughout the space, the agency informed on Monday (Aug 22).
The DSN set up a lock on the STEREO-B downlink carrier around Sunday evening. The downlink signal was monitored by members of the Mission Operations team over several hours to test the spacecraft. The Missions Operations team is working on further recovery processes to "assess the observatory health, re-establish attitude control and evaluate subsystems and instruments," the Nasa report said.
The communications with STEREO-B were lost while the spacecraft's command loss timer was being tested. It is a hard reset which gets triggered once the spacecraft loses communications from Earth for 72 hours. The team was testing the feature anticipating a solar conjunction when the STEREO-B's line of sight to Earth gets blocked by the sun.