The ISEE-3 Reboot Project has two new articles up that provide extraordinarily detailed descriptions of the spacecraft’s propulsion systems and word that NASA has given the green light for them to “spin up” the satellite.
The propulsion systems article is an amazing document based on original project documentation and interviews with former mission team members. Developing it is an important first step before drilling down into the finer details of how those systems work, knowledge that will be critical in drawing up the exact procedures necessary to direct the spacecraft’s maneuvering systems over the next critical weeks.
Being an Explorer-class spacecraft, ISEE-3 depends in part on a precisely calibrated spin of its body along the direction of its path to maintain navigational stability. With NASA’s permission the Reboot Project team are going to be commanding the spacecraft to increase its current spin rate to what will be optimal for further operations, including the upcoming course correction burn. The June 13 Status Report notes that the spin up procedure will also serve to test the systems needed to do that later burn.
I’m filing this article under “Hardware”, “System Analysis” and “System Administration” because I think the Reboot Project is a terrific illustration of how computer science should be done, and how those three areas need to come together to achieve whatever goal is set.