Missing STEREO-B spacecraft sends signal home after two years of silence

Missing STEREO-B spacecraft sends signal home after two years of silence

After the sun-watching probe called STEREO-B lost the contact and went silent in 2014, it has regained the contact and all the credit for the same goes to NASA. On Sunday evening, August 21, NASA's Deep Space Network detected a signal from STEREO-B.

NASA said that it did not lose hope to reestablish contact with STEREO-B. On regular basis, it used to make monthly searches for the probe and finally on Sunday, it contacted back home at 6.57pm EDT. For now, the scientists do not have an exact idea about the condition of STEREO-B, which has wandered in space for around two years.

On October 1, 2014, the spacecraft lost the contact with NASA. STEREO-B has a twin, STEREO-A, which is working completely normally. NASA was actually testing a command loss timer when contact with the probe was lost.

STEREO-B’s test did not go as planned. It sent back a weak signal and then the spacecraft went into silence mode. “The STEREO Missions Operations team plans further recovery processes to assess observatory health, re-establish attitude control, and evaluate all subsystems and instruments”, affirmed NASA officials.

NASA team said that they would have been able to fix the issue if STEREO-B had remained in contact, but it could not happen. The American space agency even mentioned that the spacecraft is wandering in space with wrong information about how it is moving. It was considered to be a big problem as the spacecraft needs to keep itself pointed to the sun so it keeps on getting the needed power.

“Everything in the space business involves risk, and what we try to do before we launch is manage that risk. Now we are getting into regimes we never designed the spacecraft to be in”, said Joe Gurman, a project scientist on the STEREO mission.


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