NASA has confirmed that its Image satellite, which was lost for a long period of time, is still alive. It said that the main control system of the satellite is still operational.
An amateur astronomer had re-discovered the IMAGE satellite, which was launched on March 25, 2000, on january 20.
IMAGE is the short for Imager for Magnetopause-to-Aurora Global Exploration and it was built with an aim to image the magnetosphere of the Earth and to produce the first comprehensive global images of the plasma populations in this region.
Its initial two-year mission was successfully completed and extended in 2002. On December 18, 2005, contact with it was unexpectedly lost.
On January 20, 2018, an amateur astronomer recorded observations of a satellite in high Earth orbit. His initial research pointed that it was the IMAGE satellite.
And now, NASA has confirmed that it was the IMAGE satellite.
“On the afternoon of January 30, the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab in Laurel, Maryland, successfully collected telemetry data from the satellite. The signal showed that the space craft ID was 166 — the ID for IMAGE,” NASA said.
NASA said it will continue to analyse the data from the satellite in order to learn more about its condition.
“This process will take a week or two to complete as it requires attempting to adapt old software and databases of information to more modern systems,” the statement added.