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NASA Re-Establishes Contact With Sun-Watching Spacecraft

STEREO-BNASA has re-established contact with one of its sun-watching spacecraft after 22 months of communication attempts.

The space agency said Sunday its Deep Space Network was able to connect with the Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatories spacecraft’s downlink signal during a monthly recovery operation.

The connection allowed the mission operations team to determine STEREO-B’s attitude and power down the transmitter high voltage in an effort to conserve battery, NASA added.

The team plans to continue the recovery process to evaluate the sun observatory’s health, subsystems and instruments as well as reset attitude control.

NASA said it lost communications with STEREO-B on Oct. 1, 2014, during a trial of its command loss timer, which works to perform a hard reset when the spacecraft loses communications for 72 hours, as part of preparation for solar conjunction.

The test aimed to prepare STEREO-B for when its line of sight to Earth gets blocked by the sun and it loses communication functions.

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