Thursday, March 1, 2018

Canadian Ham Finds Long-Missing NASA Satellite

The IMAGE satellite prior to launch in 2000 (NASA photo)
Amateur radio operator and amateur astronomer Scott Tilley, VA7LF, has done what NASA could not – locate a long-lost space weather satellite. Tilley, who regularly monitors signals from satellites passing over his home in British Columbia, picked up signals in January from the NASA IMAGE satellite, thought to have died in 2005. The first independent confirmation of the signal, according to the ARRL Letter, was provided by yet another amateur, Paul Marsh, M0EYT, in England. Scientists were able to re-establish contact with the satellite and read some basic housekeeping data. 

However, it was reported in late February by NASA that IMAGE's signal began to break up on February 22 and that the satellite again went silent on the 24th. It noted that this instance was not similar to the sudden shutdown experienced in 2005 and that scientists were hoping to re-establish contact and continue efforts to bring the spacecraft's control systems back online.