Daily Management Review

NASA Confirms Mystery Satellite To Be Its IMAGE Satellite


NASA Confirms Mystery Satellite To Be Its IMAGE Satellite
NASA has confirmed that a satellite that was re-discovered on Jan. 20, 2018, is its IMAGE satellite. The identity of the satellite was confirmed by the U.S. space agency.
Telemetry data from the satellite was successfully collected by the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab in Laurel, Maryland on the afternoon of Jan. 30. The data thus collected was used to certify the confirmation of the satellite as IMAGE because the data indicated that it was from space craft ID of 166.
The NASA researchers and scientists have further learned that the main control system is operational in the least based on some basic housekeeping data from the spacecraft, that the team was able to read.
And in order to know more about the condition of the spacecraft, scientists would also attempt to analyze the data from the craft further at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Because of the fact that the process would entail conversion of and adapting information from old software and databases into the new and modern systems, therefore it is expected that the process would require about a week or two to get completed.
On Jan. 20, 2018, observations of a satellite in high Earth orbit were recorded by an amateur astronomer. The data thus recorded and the primary research conducted by the astronomer indicated that the satellite was the Imager for Magnetopause-to-Aurora Global Exploration (IMAGE). It was on March 25, 2000, that NASA had launched the satellite to orbit the Earth.
But the issue needed to be confirmed by NASA. For this purpose, radio signals from the object were acquired with the use of five separate antennas by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
On Jan 29, all of the five antennas provided reliable and consistent data about the radio frequency which resembled the characteristics expected of IMAGE. In particular, there was a spike shown in the radio frequency at the expected center frequency and the side bands as well. These clearly indicated that the signals were from IMAGE. There was also consistency in the oscillation of the signal and was the same as the scientists expect to emerge out of the last known spin rate for IMAGE.
Capturing and analysis of data from the signal would now be attempted to be done by NASA so that they are able to accurately and undoubtedly confirm that the satellite found is IMAGE. Decoding the signal is primarily a technical challenge. The forms of hardware and operating systems that were laden on the IMAGE Mission Operations Center does not exist anymore. On the other hand, several other systems used in the mission have been upgraded by multiple versions compared to what they were ag the time of the mission. This requires high levels of reverse-engineering.
The mission IMAGE was to capture pictures and study Earth's magnetosphere. It was also the first attempt to gather comprehensive global images of the plasma populations of that part of the Earth’s atmosphere. On Dec. 18, 2005, there was an unexpected failure by the satellite to make contact with NASA during a routine pass after the satellite had been able to successfully complete and even extend the initial two-year mission in 2002. The mission was declared closed by NASA following failure to induce a reboot in 2007.

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