[amsat-bb] Re: AMSAT-DL and Bochum Observatory receive signal from retired NASA spacecraft

John Spasojevich johnag9d at gmail.com
Sun Mar 9 09:58:21 PDT 2014

Outstanding achievement!

John - AG9D

On Sun, Mar 9, 2014 at 8:17 AM, Peter Guelzow <peter.guelzow at kourou.de>wrote:

> see also:
> http://www.amsat-dl.org/index.php/news-mainmenu-97/199-ice-satellite-received-in-bochum
> ---------------------
> AMSAT-DL and Bochum Observatory receive signal from retired NASA spacecraft
> On March 1st and 2nd, 2014 radio amateurs were able to detect the beacon
> signal from the retired NASA deep space probe ICE (International
> Cometary Explorer) at the Bochum Observatory (Germany). After some
> changes to the ground equipment and aligning the receive antenna to the
> predicted position in the sky, the beacon signal could positively be
> identified due to its frequency, the position in the sky and the
> frequency shift due to the radial velocity (Doppler shift).
> For this detection the 20m radio telescope from the Bochum Observatory
> was used. In 2003, AMSAT-DL converted this former industrial monument
> into a fully functional groundstation for deep space probes. Since 2009
> the facility is being used by volunteers almost full time as ground
> receive station for data from the STEREO mission with its two
> spaceprobes monitoring the sun from different viewing angles.
> The International Sun-Earth Explorer 3 (ISEE-3) was launched in 1978 and
> became the first spacecraft to orbit the Earth-Sun L1 Lagrange point,
> measuring the interaction between the Earth's magnetic field and the
> Sun. It was the first spacecraft to detect the stream of particles
> ("solar wind") approaching Earth. In 1982, the spacecraft was renamed
> the "International Cometary Explorer" (ICE) and diverted to the Moon,
> where its gravitational pull placed ICE on a heliocentric orbit. In
> 1985, the comet Giacobini-Zinner was visited (the first time a comet had
> been encountered by a spacecraft), followed by observation of Halley's
> Comet in 1986. While the instrumentation on board was still functional
> and fuel for more trajectory maneuvers was available, support for the
> ICE mission was terminated in 1997, though the spacecraft transmitter
> was left on. It was last detected by the NASA Deep Space Network in
> 2008. Its orbit however results in the spacecraft returning to
> Earth-Moon space in August of 2014. A small propulsive maneuver and
> lunar flyby could allow ICE to be directed into an Earth-Sun L1 halo
> orbit and perhaps resume a science mission, depending on instrument
> health. However in February 2014 a NASA study determined that the
> required resources to contact the spacecraft were not available anymore
> and due to budgetary constraints no further contact attempts were
> planned. In light of the recent observations and the available
> facilities in Bochum, additional studies about the economic feasibility
> to add a suitable uplink are being done.
> We would like to thank Jeremy Bauman from KinetX Aerospace (Tempe AZ,
> USA) for providing the ICE trajectory solution which was essential in
> finding the spacecraft and Jon D. Giorgini from the Jet Propulsion
> Laboratory (Pasadena CA, USA) for his support.
> About AMSAT-DL:
> AMSAT-DL (short for AMSAT-Germany) is an organization consisting of
> engineers, scientists, students, radio amateur operators and space
> enthusiasts. They design, develop, build, operate and use satellites in
> their spare time. In addition to ca. 600 members of AMSAT-DL other
> national AMSAT organizations count in total about 6000 members. AMSAT-DL
> is one of the few space organizations which lead satellite projects from
> the drawing board through design stage and construction into the
> operative service. AMSAT-DL projects strictly follow the open-source
> principle so technologies and procedures can be used by third parties.
> This includes also lessons learned and scientific results obtained
> during the satellite's operation.
> About the Bochum Observatory:
> The Bochum Observatory is a recognized and sponsored higher-education
> institution of the state Nordrhein-Westfalen (Germany) and is also
> funded by the 'Landeszentrale für politische Bildung NRW'. Next to
> optical sky surveys the focus of the current work is the recording of
> earth monitoring data from satellites. The main task is the scientific
> analysis and the public presentation of this data to understand the
> function of the 'earth system' and to characterize the effects and risks
> of human actions in the context of globalization.
> contact AMSAT-DL: Dr. Achim Vollhardt, ICEteam at amsat-dl.org
> contact Sternwarte Bochum: Thilo Elsner, info at iuz-bochum.de
> <mailto:info at iuz-bochum.de>, +49 177 50 70 797
> ---
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