Applied Defense Solutions (ADS) and Space Exploration Engineering (SEE) are working in collaboration with SkyCorp (a RocketHub crowd funding initiative) on the ISEE-3 Reboot Project. Launched in 1978, the International Solar-Environment Explorer (ISEE-3) spacecraft is on a mission to monitor the Solar wind. In 1984, NASA repurposed ISEE-3 as a comet explorer and injecting the spacecraft into an Earth return trajectory, due to arrive back into the Earth-Moon system in August 2014. Without intervention, the spacecraft will fly past Earth and back out around the Sun in an orbit slightly faster than that of Earth not returning to the Earth/Moon systems for decades. The ADS/SEE team is applying our expertise in trajectory design, orbit determination, and maneuver planning to determine the location of ISEE-3, its future trajectory, and the necessary maneuvers needed to achieve an Earth/Moon system capture. To assist in the analysis the ADS/SEE team is using Analytical Graphics, Inc. (AGI) Orbit Determination Tool Kit (ODTK) and Systems Tool Kit (STK) tools using two distinct techniques to process the tracking measurements provided by the Arecibo radio telescope. First, ADS is employing its patented iGatorOD technology to generate an initial orbit from the Arecibo tracking measurements and NASA JPL’s 2001 trajectory estimate. Using iGatorOD, the team has determined that the spacecraft’s trajectory was approximately 250,000 km off the predicted NASA trajectory.
Team ADS used IGatorOD to initialize the state needed for the Extended Kalman Filter in AGI’s ODTK tool. The iGatorOD and ODTK filter/smoother techniques will begin using DSN observations on June 18th. ADS/SEE is also employing the ADS’s Flight Dynamics System (FDS) to generate the data for JPL’s SPS Portal in order to schedule and acquire NASA DSN ground station contacts.
The team is also designing a new ISEE-3 trajectory including the design of specific maneuvers that will enable the capture of the spacecraft by Earth’s Moon system in early August. A precisely executed lunar swing-by will enable the spacecraft to be re-captured and the new orbit will allow the maneuvering of the spacecraft into a new science orbit. In late June, the team expects to be performing trajectory maneuver planning and maneuver calibration ensuring that the ISEE-3 spacecraft is on track for its intended trajectory.