Recently, an amateur astronomer got hold of the signals of lost IMAGE (Imager for Magnetopause-to-Aurora Global Exploration) satellite. He rediscovered the IMAGE satellite while searching for signals of the secret Zuma satellite that flew to space atop SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket. For confirmation, he contacted Principal investigator of the IMAGE mission, DR. James L. Burch. Then he got an email from Richard J. Burley of Goddard Spaceflight Center stating that the engineers have detected a radio signal that is compatible with that of IMAGE. Finally, NASA confirmed that the IMAGE satellite has been rediscovered and said that the main control system of the satellite is still operational.
On January 30, the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab (JHAPL) in Laurel, Maryland, successfully collected telemetry data from the satellite and after analyzing the signals the scientists found out that the spacecraft ID was 166 – the ID for IMAGE. NASA calls the IMAGE spacecraft a “discovery” machine and salutes its nearly six years mission during which it provided robust research about the space around Earth.
Jim Green, Director of Planetary Science at NASA Headquarters in Washington said that IMAGE was a discovery machine and a seminal mission that gave the scientists a broader perspective of Earth’s environment and its ever-changing magnetosphere. Green worked as a co-investor and Deputy Project Scientist for IMAGE. The IMAGE mission was launched on March 25, 2000, from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California atop a Delta II rocket. The main aim of IMAGE satellite was to monitor the Earth’s magnetosphere and how it reacts to the solar winds.
As reported by the Hindu, It was the first mission to use neutral atom, photon, and radio imaging techniques to make large-scale measurements of the charged particles that exist in near-Earth space. Owing to the success of the two year IMAGE mission, NASA extended its operation twice to further aid the scientists and researchers with its valuable data. But unfortunately, on December, 2005, the satellite failed to make contact with the IMAGE team. The ground control informed that it did not receive telemetry signals from IMAGE during a routine pass and also satellite failed to respond to and command since then. When IMAGE team failed to reboot the satellite during an eclipse, the mission was declared over. But now, the satellite has been rediscovered and is found to be operating in spa