NASA just found a missing satellite
After two years of nothing, NASA has just re-established contact with one of its long lost satellites. The previously missing satellite is called the Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatories B, or STEREO-B, and was originally designed to observe the sun and the effects of its mysterious solar wind.
The STEREO-B was originally launched in 2006 and for eight years it performed well. However, things went wrong on 1 October 2014, when the satellite stopped responding after a straightforward check of its hard-reset function. Since then the satellite has floated around in space, but NASA didn’t give up on finding it. Throughout the years, NASA has used several methods of contacting its runaway satellite, and it finally paid off on 21 August.
On that day, NASA was able to make contact with the STEREO-B, after two years and around 189-million miles of drifting through space. According to a statement on NASA’s website, scientists used the Deep Space Network – a web of satellites designed to track space missions – and were able to “establish a lock on the downlink” on the STEREO-B satellite at 6:27pm.
While the news is encouraging, it doesn’t mean the STEREO-B can return to its day job just yet: NASA is yet to carry out some key diagnostic tests to work out how damaged it is – and if it still actually works.