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Space History for July 24

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The first hydroelectric power plant in North America began operating at Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Born, Amelia Mary Earhart (at Atchison, Kansas, USA), American aviatrix

Born, Otto Meier, rocket engineer, member of the German Rocket Team in the Soviet Union after World War II, worked on rocket engine development in Glushko's design bureau (1947-1952), in the Oxygen Plant and Laboratory Department

Born, Gay Ilich Severin, Russia, Chief Designer and General Designer from 1961 of OKB Zvezda, specialized in spacesuits and EVA airlocks

K. Reinmuth discovered asteroids #1645 Waterfield, #1668 Hanna, #1726 Hoffmeister, #2136 Jugta and #2158.

1950 14:29:00 GMT
Bumper No. 8, a German V-2 with a 320 kg Army-JPL Wac Corporal, was the first missile launch from Cape Canaveral. The first stage V-2 climbed 16 km before it exploded, the second stage Corporal separated successfully and traveled another 24 km.

NASA issued a letter of contract to RCA's Astro-Electronic Division to develop and fabricate the high resolution television system, including associated communication and electronic equipment, for the Ranger program.

Died, Erwin Finlay-Freundlich, German astronomer (experiments to test Einstein's general theory of relativity by astronomical observations based on gravitational redshift)

1969 16:50:35 GMT
NASA Apollo 11 splashed down in the Pacific Ocean, safely returning to Earth after astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were the first to walk on the Moon while Michael Collins orbited over their heads in the Command Module.

Apollo 11 (AS-506) was the first mission in which humans walked on the Lunar surface and returned to Earth: On 20 July 1969, two astronauts (Apollo 11 Commander Neil A. Armstrong and "Eagle" Lunar Module (LM) pilot Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin Jr.) landed in Mare Tranquilitatis (the Sea of Tranquility) on the Moon in the LM while the "Columbia" Command and Service Module (CSM), with CM pilot Michael Collins, continued in Lunar orbit. During their stay on the Moon, the astronauts set up scientific experiments, took photographs, and collected Lunar samples. The LM took off from the Moon on 21 July and the astronauts returned to Earth on 24 July.

Apollo 11, the fifth manned Apollo mission, was launched into Earth orbit on 16 July 1969 from pad 39A of the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on a Saturn V. After 1.5 Earth orbits, the S-IVB stage was re-ignited at 16:16:16 UT for the 5 minute 48 second translunar injection burn, putting the spacecraft on course for the Moon. The CSM separated from the S-IVB stage containing the LM 33 minutes later, turned around and docked with the LM at 16:56:03 UT. About an hour and 15 minutes later, the S-IVB stage was injected into heliocentric orbit. On 17 July, a three second mid-course correction burn of the main engine was performed. During the translunar coast, at 4:40 pm EDT on 18 July, the crew began a 96 minute color television transmission of the CSM and LM interiors, CSM exterior, the Earth, probe and drogue removal, spacecraft tunnel hatch opening, food preparation, and LM housekeeping. Lunar orbit insertion was achieved on 19 July at 17:21:50 UT by a retrograde firing of the main engine for 357.5 seconds while the spacecraft was behind the Moon and out of contact with Earth, and a 17 second burn later circularized the orbit. During the second Lunar orbit, a live color telecast of the Lunar surface was made. At 13:50 UT on 20 July, Armstrong and Aldrin entered the LM for the final systems checkout. At 18:11:53, the LM and CSM separated, and after a visual inspection by Collins, the LM descent engine was fired for 30 seconds at 19:08 UT, putting the craft into a descent orbit with a closest approach 14.5 km above the Moon's surface. At 20:05, the LM descent engine was fired for 756.3 seconds, and the final descent to the Lunar surface began.

The first Apollo landing site, in the southern Sea of Tranquility about 20 km (12 mi) southwest of the crater Sabine D, was selected in part because it had been characterized as relatively flat and smooth by the automated Ranger 8 and Surveyor 5 landers, as well as by Lunar Orbiter mapping spacecraft, and therefore unlikely to present major landing or extra-vehicular activity (EVA) challenges.

Armstrong and Aldrin found they were "running long" - Eagle was 4 seconds further along its descent trajectory than planned, and would land miles west of the intended site. The LM navigation and guidance computer reported several "program alarms" as it guided the LM's descent which tore the crew's attention from the scene outside as the descent proceeded. A young controller named Steve Bales at NASA's Mission Control Center in Houston, Texas, was able to tell the flight director it was safe to continue the descent in spite of the alarms (for which he later received the Medal of Freedom). Once they were able to return their attention to the view outside, the astronauts saw that their computer was guiding them toward a landing site full of large rocks scattered around a large crater. Armstrong took manual control of the Lunar module, and guided it to a landing with less than 30 seconds worth of fuel left. The program alarms were "executive overflows" indicating the computer could not finish its work in the time allotted. The cause was later determined to be the LM rendezvous radar was left on during the descent, causing the computer to spend unplanned time servicing the unused radar.

The LM landed at 20:17:40 UT (4:17:40 pm EDT) in Mare Tranquilitatis (the Sea of Tranquility), with Armstrong reporting, "Houston, Tranquility Base here - the Eagle has landed." Armstrong stepped onto the Lunar surface at 02:56:15 UT on 21 July (10:56:15 pm July 20 EDT) stating, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." Aldrin followed him onto the Lunar surface 19 minutes later. The astronauts unveiled a plaque mounted on a strut of the LM and read to a worldwide TV audience, "Here men from the planet Earth first set foot on the Moon July 1969, A.D. We came in peace for all mankind." After raising the American flag and talking to President Nixon by radiotelephone, the astronauts deployed the Early Apollo Scientific Experiment Package (EASEP) and other instruments, took photographs, and collected 21.7 kg of Lunar rock and soil, traversing a total distance of about 250 meters. Despite some technical and weather difficulties, ghostly black and white images of the entire first Lunar EVA were received, primarily through the radio telescope station at the Parkes Observatory in Australia, and were immediately broadcast live to at least 600 million people on Earth. The EVA ended at 5:11:13 UT when Armstrong and Aldrin returned to the LM and closed the hatch.

The LM lifted off from the Moon at 17:54:01 UT on 21 July after 21 hours, 36 minutes on the Lunar surface. After docking with the CSM at 21:34:00 UT, the crew, with the Lunar samples and film, transferred to the CSM. The LM was jettisoned into Lunar orbit at 00:01:01 UT on 22 July. The crew then rested and prepared for the return trip to Earth. Transearth injection began at 04:54:42 UT on 22 July with a 2.5 minute firing of the CSM main engine. Following a midcourse correction at 21:01 UT, an 18 minute color television transmission was made, in which the astronauts demonstrated the weightlessness of food and water, and showed shots of the Earth and Moon. The CM separated from the SM at 16:21:13 UT on 24 July as the spacecraft neared Earth on its return. Apollo 11 splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on 24 July 1969 at 16:50:35 UT (12:50:35 pm EDT) after a mission elapsed time of 195 hours, 18 minutes, 35 seconds. Splashdown took place at 13 deg 19 min N, 169 deg 9 min W, 400 miles SSW of Wake Island and 24 km (15 mi) from the recovery ship USS Hornet. Following decontamination procedures at the splashdown point, the astronauts were carried by helicopter to the Hornet where they entered a mobile quarantine facility to begin a period of observation under strict quarantine conditions. The CM was also recovered and removed to the quarantine facility. Sample containers and film were flown to Houston.

All primary mission objectives and all detailed test objectives of Apollo 11 were met, and all crew members remained in good health. The performance of the spacecraft was excellent throughout the mission. The primary mission goal of landing astronauts on the Moon and returning them to Earth was achieved. Armstrong was a civilian on his second spaceflight (he'd previously flown on Gemini 8), Aldrin was a USAF Colonel on his second spaceflight (Gemini 12), Collins was a USAF Lt. Colonel also on his second flight (Gemini 10). The backup crew for the mission was Jim Lovell, Fred Haise, and William Anders. The Apollo 11 Command Module is on display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

The Apollo program included a large number of uncrewed test missions and 12 crewed missions: three Earth orbiting missions (Apollo 7, 9 and Apollo-Soyuz), two Lunar orbiting missions (Apollo 8 and 10), a Lunar swingby (Apollo 13), and six Moon landing missions (Apollo 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17). Two astronauts from each of the six landing missions walked on the Moon (Neil Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin, Charles Conrad, Alan Bean, Alan Shepard, Edgar Mitchell, David Scott, James Irwin, John Young, Charles Duke, Gene Cernan, and Harrison Schmitt), the only humans to date (2015) to have set foot on another planetary body beyond Earth.

Apollo 11 crew after splashdown await pickup by helicopter from the USS Hornet, NASA photo

Died, James Chadwick, English physicist (Nobel 1935 "for the discovery of the neutron")

1975 21:18:00 GMT
NASA Apollo-ASTP, the American half of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, landed in the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii after the unprecedented international docking of their spacecraft.

On 15 Juy 1975, the US and the USSR launched an Apollo spacecraft (Apollo-ASTP) and a Soyuz spacecraft (Soyuz 19), respectively, as a joint effort called the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP), a post-Moon-race 'goodwill' flight to test a common docking system for space rescue. The Soyuz was launched first, with a two man crew who placed their spacecraft into a docking orbit. The Apollo launch 7.5 hours later followed right on schedule. Despite a stowaway - a 'super Florida mosquito' - Apollo's three man crew performed a series of rendezvous maneuvers over the next day to position their spacecraft into a proper configuration for docking with the Soyuz. The docking occurred on the third flight day, 17 July 1975. After docking, crew members rotated between the two spacecraft, with the Apollo crew first visiting the Soyuz. Stafford spent 7 hours, 10 minutes aboard Soyuz, Brand 6:30, and Slayton 1:35. The combined Apollo-Soyuz crews conducted various mainly ceremonial activities, performed joint experiments, and presented radio and TV reports. After the joint experiments were completed, the spacecraft disengaged, and each continued its separate mission.

After being docked nearly 44 hours, Apollo and Soyuz parted for the first time and were station-keeping at a range of 50 meters. The Apollo crew placed their craft between Soyuz and the Sun to create an artificial solar eclipse, as viewed from Soyuz, permitting photography of the solar corona. After the experiment, Soyuz moved toward Apollo as the active ship for the second docking.

Three hours later, Apollo and Soyuz undocked for the second and final time. The spacecraft moved to a 40 meter station keeping distance so that the ultraviolet absorption (UVA MA-059) experiment could be performed, an effort to more precisely determine the quantities of atomic oxygen and atomic nitrogen existing at such altitudes. Apollo, flying out of plane around Soyuz, projected monochromatic laser-like beams of light to retro-reflectors mounted on Soyuz. On the 150 meter phase of the experiment, light from a Soyuz port led to a misalignment of the spectrometer, but on the 500 meter pass, excellent data were received; on the 1,000 meter pass, satisfactory results were also obtained.

With all the joint flight activities completed, the ships went on their separate ways. On 20 July, the Apollo crew conducted Earth observations, experiments in the multipurpose furnace (MA-010), extreme ultraviolet surveying (MA-083), crystal growth (MA-085), and helium glow (MA-088). Apollo continued in orbit on 22-23 July to conduct 23 other independent experiments - including a doppler tracking experiment (MA-089) and geodynamics experiment (MA-128) designed to verify which of two techniques would be best suited for studying plate tectonics from Earth orbit.

After donning their space suits, the crew vented the command module tunnel and jettisoned the docking module. Apollo-ASTP landed in the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii at 21 deg 52′ N 162 deg 45′ W on 24 July 1975, 7.3 km from the recovery ship New Orleans, the last splashdown of an American space capsule. The docking module remained in orbit until it re-entered the Earth's atmosphere and burned up in August 1975.

The last flight of the Apollo spacecraft was marred by the fact that the crew almost perished while the capsule was descending under its parachute, due to the crew making a mistake during their preparations for re-entry that resulted in a very rough landing and the capsule filling with noxious fumes: The automatic landing sequence was not armed, and the reaction control system was left active. When the Apollo hadn't begun the parachute deployment sequence by 7,000 metres altitude, Brand hit the manual switches for the apex cover and the drogues. The manual deployment caused the CM to sway, and the reaction control system thrusters worked vigorously to counteract that motion. When the crew finally armed the automatic ELS 30 seconds later, the thruster action terminated. During that 30 seconds, the cabin was flooded with a mixture of toxic unignited propellants from the thrusters: Prior to drogue deployment, the cabin pressure relief valve had opened automatically, and in addition to drawing in fresh air, it also brought in the unwanted gases being expelled from the roll thrusters located about 0.6 meter from the relief valve. Brand manually deployed the main parachutes at about 2,700 meters despite the gas fumes in the cabin.

By the time of splashdown, the crew was nearly unconscious from the fumes. Stafford managed to get an oxygen mask over Brand's face who then began to come around. When the CM was upright in the water, Stafford opened the vent valve, and the in-rush of air dissipated the remaining fumes. The crew ended up with a two-week hospital stay in Honolulu. For Slayton, it also meant the discovery of a small lesion on his left lung, an exploratory operation indicated it was a non-malignant tumour.

The Apollo-Soyuz mission was the first mission carrying a handheld programmable pocket calculator, an HP-65. The calculator was programmed to perform several backup computations to partly stand in for the Apollo mission computer in case the latter should malfunction or cease to function altogether, neither of which occurred.

This was the final flight of an Apollo mission. The ASTP Command Module is on display at the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida.

1977 21:15:00 GMT
USSR launched the Raduga 3 communications satellite from Baikonur, which was positioned in geosynchronous orbit over the Indian Ocean at 35 deg E in 1977-1980.

E. Bowell discovered asteroid #2763 Jeans.

1983 05:30:37 GMT
USSR launched Cosmos 1484 from Baikonur, a landsat follow-on to the Meteor series, to gather Earth resource information for use in the Soviet economy, and to conduct tests on new types of remote sensing of the Earth's surface and atmosphere.

1990 22:25:00 GMT
An Ariane 44L launched from Kourou carried to orbit the French TDF 2 direct broadcasting satellite, and the German DFS 2 communications satellite, initially positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 19 deg W, and 28 deg E, respectively.

University of Manchester scientists led by Andrew Lyne announced finding a planet outside of our solar system.

1992 14:26:00 GMT
Japan's Geotail satellite was launched from Cape Canaveral to investigate the structure and dynamics of the geomagnetic tail extending from Earth's night side. Japan's Diffuse Ultraviolet Explorer package also launched, bolted to the Delta's second stage.

1995 15:52:10 GMT
A Proton booster launched from Baikonur carried three of Russia's Glonass Constellation 2 navigation satellites (Cosmos 2316 - Cosmos 2318) into orbit, which were put into service in late August 1995.

Died, Max Ernst Nowak, German guided missile expert in World War II, member of the German Rocket Team in the US after the war, Head of Assembly Engineering Branch, Fabrication and Assembly Engineering Division, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (1960)

A Chinese aerospace magazine indicated Chinese scientists had drafted a long term plan for Lunar exploration, beginning with flyby or orbiting satellite missions in 2005, through sample return missions by 2030, followed by a Lunar base.

2001 21:39:00 CDT (GMT -5:00:00)
NASA STS 104 (Atlantis 24) landed at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, ending International Space Station Flight 7A.

STS 104 was launched 12 July 2001. Main engine cutoff and external tank separation was at 0913 GMT. Atlantis was then in an orbit of 59 x 235 km x 51.6 deg. The OMS-2 burn at 0942 GMT increased velocity by 29 m/s, and raised the orbit to 157 x 235 km x 51.6 deg, and another burn at 1240 GMT raised it further to 232 x 305 km. Atlantis docked with the International Space Station at 0308 GMT on 14 July 2001.

Top priority for the mission was installation on the International Space Station of the Quest Airlock, to give station crewmembers the capability of conducting spacewalks from the orbiting laboratory using either Russian or US spacesuits. It consisted of an Equipment Lock for storage, and the Crew Lock, based on the Shuttle airlock. The Equipment Lock was berthed to the Unity module at one of the large-diameter CBM (Common Berthing Mechanism) hatches, and its "survival heaters" were activated. STS-104 then installed the six ton Airlock, consisting of two cylinders four meters diameter with a total length six meters, onto the Unity module. In a series of spacewalks, the astronauts moved the oxygen and nitrogen tanks onto the airlock exterior. The Airlock could be pressurized by the externally mounted high pressure oxygen-nitrogen tanks, and was to be the sole unit through which all future EVAs were to take place. Prior to its installation, all EVA entries and exits had been through a Russian module in ISS, with non-Russians having to wear Russian space suits.

Another payload was the "EarthKAM" of middle/high school interest. It was to allow pupils to command picture taking of chosen spots on Earth; they were expected to target 2,000 spots. The shuttle also carried out pulsed exhaust tests during maneuvers to enable better understanding of the formation of HF echoes from the shuttle exhaust. The echoes were obtained by ground based radars in an experiment called SIMPLEX (Shuttle Ionospheric Modification with Pulsed Local EXhaust).

Mission Specialists Michael Gernhardt and James Reilly conducted three space walks while Atlantis was docked to the International Space Station, spending a total of 16 hours, 30 minutes outside. During the first space walk, Gernhardt and Reilly assisted in the installation of the airlock. During the second and third excursions, they focused on the external outfitting of the Quest Airlock with four High Pressure Gas Tanks, handrails and other vital equipment.

The STS 104 payload consisted of:
 * Bay 1-2: Orbiter Docking System/External Airlock, including 3 EMU spacesuits
 * Bay 4-5: Spacelab Pallet (Fwd) with O2-1/O2-2 oxygen tanks
 * Bay 6-7: Spacelab Pallet (Aft) with N2-1/N2-2 nitrogen tanks
 * Bay 8-12: Station Joint Airlock Adapter beam with IMAX Cargo Bay Camera
 * Sill: RMS arm

Orbit altitude: 240 nautical miles. Orbit inclination: 51.6 degrees. STS 104 ended when Atlantis landed on Runway 15, Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on 24 July 2001. The landing was the 55th shuttle landing, and the 13th night landing, at KSC. Florida weather cooperated beautifully, with none of the rain showers that caused waveoff of two landing opportunities a day earlier.

The flight crew for STS 104 was: Steven W. Lindsey, Commander; Charles O. Hobaugh, Pilot; Michael L. Gernhardt, Mission Specialist 1; Janet L. Kavandi, Mission Specialist 2; James F. Reilly, Mission Specialist 3.

The ISEE-3 Reboot Team announced that all attempts to change orbit using the ISEE-3 propulsion system had failed and the project would focus on collecting scientific data.

The Explorer-class heliocentric spacecraft, International Sun-Earth Explorer 3, was part of the mother/daughter/heliocentric mission (ISEE 1, 2, and 3). The purposes of the mission were: (1) to investigate solar-terrestrial relationships at the outermost boundaries of the Earth's magnetosphere; (2) to examine in detail the structure of the solar wind near the Earth and the shock wave that forms the interface between the solar wind and Earth's magnetosphere; (3) to investigate motions of and mechanisms operating in the plasma sheets; and, (4) to continue the investigation of cosmic rays and solar flare emissions in the interplanetary region near 1 AU.

The three spacecraft carried a number of complementary instruments for making measurements of plasmas, energetic particles, waves, and fields. The mission thus extended the investigations of previous IMP spacecraft. The launch of three coordinated spacecraft in this mission permitted the separation of spatial and temporal effects. ISEE 3, launched 12 August 1978, had a spin axis normal to the ecliptic plane and a spin rate of about 20 rpm. It was initially placed into an elliptical halo orbit about the Lagrangian libration point (L1) 235 Earth radii on the sunward side of the Earth, where it continuously monitored changes in the near-Earth interplanetary medium. In conjunction with the mother and daughter spacecraft, which had eccentric geocentric orbits, this mission explored the coupling and energy transfer processes between the incident solar wind and the Earth's magnetosphere. In addition, the heliocentric ISEE 3 spacecraft also provided a near-Earth baseline for making cosmic-ray and other planetary measurements for comparison with corresponding measurements from deep-space probes. ISEE 3 was the first spacecraft to use the halo orbit.

In 1982, ISEE 3 began the magnetotail and comet encounter phases of its mission. A maneuver was conducted on 10 June 1982 to remove the spacecraft from the halo orbit around the L1 point and place it in a transfer orbit involving a series of passages between Earth and the L2 (magnetotail) Lagrangian libration point. After several passes through the Earth's magnetotail, with gravity assists from Lunar flybys in March, April, September and October of 1983, a final close Lunar flyby (119.4 km above the Moon's surface) on 22 December 1983 ejected the spacecraft out of the Earth-Moon system and into a heliocentric orbit ahead of the Earth, on a trajectory intercepting that of Comet Giacobini-Zinner. At this time, the spacecraft was renamed International Cometary Explorer (ICE). A total of fifteen propulsive maneuvers (four of which were planned in advance) and five Lunar flybys were needed to carry out the transfer from the halo orbit to an escape trajectory from the Earth-Moon system into a heliocentric orbit.

The primary scientific objective of ICE was to study the interaction between the solar wind and a cometary atmosphere. As planned, the spacecraft traversed the plasma tail of Comet Giacobini-Zinner on 11 September 1985, and made in situ measurements of particles, fields, and waves. It also transited between the Sun and Comet Halley in late March 1986, when other spacecraft (Giotto, Planet-A, MS-T5, VEGA) were also in the vicinity of Comet Halley on their early March comet rendezvous missions. ICE became the first spacecraft to directly investigate two comets. ICE data from both cometary encounters are included in the International Halley Watch archive at

Tracking and telemetry support were provided by the DSN (Deep Space Network) starting in January 1984. The ISEE-3/ICE bit rate was nominally 2048 bps during the early part of the mission, and 1024 bps during the Giacobini-Zinner comet encounter. The bit rate then successively dropped to 512 bps (on 9/12/85), 256 bps (on 5/1/87), 128 bps (on 1/24/89) and finally to 64 bps (on 12/27/91).

As of January 1990, ICE was in a 355 day heliocentric orbit with an aphelion of 1.03 AU, a perihelion of 0.93 AU and an inclination of 0.1 degree.

An update to the ICE mission was approved by NASA headquarters in 1991. It defined a Heliospheric mission for ICE consisting of investigations of coronal mass ejections in coordination with ground-based observations, continued cosmic ray studies, and special period observations such as when ICE and Ulysses were on the same solar radial line. By May 1995, ICE was being operated with only a low duty cycle, with some support being provided by the Ulysses project for data analysis. Termination of operations of ICE/ISEE3 was authorized 5 May 1997.

In 1999, NASA made brief contact with ICE to verify its carrier signal.

On 18 September 2008, NASA located ICE with the help of KinetX using the Deep Space Network after discovering it had not been powered off after the 1999 contact. A status check revealed that all but one of its 13 experiments were still functioning, and it still had enough propellant for 150 m/s (490 ft/s) of Δv (velocity change).

In early 2014, space enthusiasts started discussing reviving ICE when it approached the Earth in August. However, officials with the Goddard Space Flight Center said the Deep Space Network equipment required for transmitting signals to the spacecraft had been decommissioned in 1999, and was too expensive to replace.

On 15 May 2014, the ISEE-3 Reboot Project successfully raised $125,000 through crowdfunding to re-establish communications with the probe.

On 29 May 2014, the reboot team commanded the probe to switch into Engineering Mode to begin to broadcast telemetry. Project members, using the Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex DSS-24 antenna, achieved synchronous communication on 26 June and obtained the four ranging points needed to refine the spacecraft's orbital parameters, data needed to calculate maneuvers required to bring the satellite out of heliocentric orbit. The reboot project successfully fired the thrusters on 2 July for the first time since 1987. They spun up the spacecraft to its nominal roll rate, in preparation for the upcoming trajectory correction maneuver in mid-July. However, a longer sequence of thrusters firings on 8 July failed, apparently due to a loss of the nitrogen gas used to pressurize the fuel tanks. The ISEE-3 Reboot Team announced that all attempts to change orbit using the ISEE-3 propulsion system had failed on 24 July. They began shutting down propulsion components to maximize the electrical power available for the science experiments.

In late July 2014, ISEE-3 Reboot Project announced the ISEE-3 Interplanetary Citizen Science Mission would gather data as the spacecraft flies by the Moon on August 10 and continues in heliocentric orbit. With five of the 13 instruments on the spacecraft still working, the science possibilities include listening for gamma ray bursts, where observations from additional locations in the solar system can be valuable. The team plans to acquire data from as much of ISEE-3's 300-day orbit as possible and the project is recruiting additional receiving sites around the globe to improve diurnal coverage. They may upload additional commands while the spacecraft is close to Earth, after which they will mostly be receiving data.

On 10 August 2014, ICE passed the Moon at a distance of approximately 15,600 km (9600 mi) from the surface and continued into heliocentric orbit. It will return to Earth's vicinity in about 17 years.

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