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Crowdsourced Know-How May Put Salvaged ISEE-3 Spacecraft Back on Track

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After a series of setbacks, the decades-old ISEE-3 spacecraft revived by a team of experts may be getting back on track — following input from a global community of aerospace experts. Space College, the group that resurrected the International Sun-Earth Explorer probe, wrote in a blog post Tuesday that asking for help on the project resulted in a flood of input, some coming from "the most qualified professionals in the world ... literally, the very top tier of experts."

Failed attempts to redirect the craft suggested its fuel reserves may have run out. The experts' consensus, however, was that a minor error on the operators' part had prevented the fuel from getting where it needed to be, and that the system otherwise was probably working more or less fine. Wednesday was the team's chance to check, and they managed to confirm fuel in the tanks and get a tiny bit of thrust — though they're not quite sure how. The data is being analyzed and Space College awaits the next opportunity to put the craft in the desired orbit.

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