By Elizabeth Howell, Space.com
A private team is preparing to make contact with a 36-year-old NASA spacecraft after reaching its $125,000 crowdfunding goal on Wednesday (May 14).
The ambitious private project, the first of its type, is attempting to reuse the International Sun-Earth Explorer 3 probe (ISEE-3), which launched in 1978 and ceased science operations in 1997.
Engineers are now planning to make course corrections with the spacecraft no later than mid-June, as ISEE-3 makes a close approach to Earth. First contact, using the huge Arecibo Observatory radio dish in Puerto Rico,is planned next week. Meeting these deadlines is pivotal, because the spacecraft won’t return for another 30 to 40 years, team members say