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News Picks : Effort to fire engines of restarted satellite has difficulty

By: Physics Today
09 July 2014
Los Angeles Times: The private team that restarted NASA's ISEE-3 satellite is now attempting to bring the satellite back into Earth orbit by firing its engines in short bursts. However, several mechanical issues have arisen that have prevented the engines from firing appropriately. As the spacecraft catches up to Earth, the amount of fuel needed to shift it into orbit will increase. As a result, the team has only a few weeks to get the satellite to perform the necessary burns. A total of 432 individual engine pulses will be required, which have been grouped into seven sessions. The first of the seven sessions was successful, but the second was not. The team believes that the fuel may have frozen after the fuel-line heaters were turned off to save energy.


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