Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)


April 12, 2014

Space Science Center wants to bring spacecraft home after 31 years

Morehead — A car-sized spacecraft launched in 1978 to measure the solar wind, then repurposed to fly alongside two comets, then lost and silent for decades, could be recycled again into a sun observation platform now that it has been found … again. 

And Morehead State’s Space Science Center may get the keys to drive it.

During the announcement Thursday of the Craft Academy for Science and Mathematics in the rotunda to the MSU’s Space Science Center, space systems engineer Robert Kroll and electrical engineer Jeffery Kruth made their way down from the second-floor control room with barely-controlled excitement. They had to tell center director Ben Malphrus the “big news.”

Using the dish on a mountain above the university, they had found the beacon signal to the International Cometary Explorer, originally called the International Sun-Earth Explorer 3 (ISEE-3), launched in August 1978.  The craft was the first to achieve Lagrangian Libration Point 1, a relatively stationary orbital position between the Earth and the sun. From there, it achieved another first: it observed and measured the solar wind against the Earth’s magnetic field.

And then it was “stolen” by Robert Farquha, the very man who pioneered the Lagrangian Libration Point 1 orbit.

He convinced NASA that he could take the spacecraft out of Lagrangian Liberation Point 1 and use a series of what are commonly referred to as slingshot maneuvers using the Earth, sun and moon as gravitational engines and hurl the craft farther into the solar system to meet up with Comet Halley. 

Using Farquha’s methods in 1983, NASA used a complicated series of gravitational twists and turns to whip the spacecraft on a path through the tail of the Comet Giacobini-Zinner in 1985 and then the 1986 encounter with Comet Halley. The method worked and the renamed ICE made it to Haley’s Comet before an armada from other countries arrived.

Text Only
Local News

An ambulance rests on its side after an accident on Winchester Avenue Tuesday morning.

Local Sports
College Basketball
CNHI News Service Originals
Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Newspaper National Network
SEC Zone