A picture of the SOHO flight module going through testing.
Click on image for full size
Courtesy of NASA
SOHO - Lost in Space!
News story originally written on July 3, 1998
Contact has been lost with the European/American SOHO satellite for over a week. Radio contact with the $1 billion craft was suddenly lost on June 24th during maintenance operations. Engineers are trying to reestablish contact with SOHO by sending signals once per minute using NASA's DSN (Deep Space Network).
It is likely that SOHO is spinning through space in a such a way that its solar panels are not getting the sunlight exposure they need to repower the spacecraft for realignment. If this is all that is wrong, the solar panels may be exposed to an increasing amount of sunlight each day as it orbits the Sun, and in a few weeks enough sunlight will be hitting the panels, and the spacecraft will be able to recharge its batteries.
"We are not certain about what went wrong,"said William Poland, mission scientist for the SOHO mission. He said that engineers were trying to restore communication with SOHO but, "There is a real fear that we won't get it back."
SOHO is a joint project of NASA and ESA. Its primary mission from 1995-1997 was extremely successful, but scientists are hoping to regain contact for the solar maximum season. Else, scientists will have to depend on spacecraft like ACE and Ulysses for solar coverage.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
on science education, ranging from evolution
, classroom research
, and the need for science and math literacy
You might also be interested in:
It was another exciting and frustrating year for the space science program. It seemed that every step forward led to one backwards. Either way, NASA led the way to a great century of discovery. Unfortunately,...more
The Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off from Kennedy Space Center at 2:19 p.m. EST, October 29th. The sky was clear and the weather was great as Discovery took 8 1/2 minutes to reach orbit for the Unitied...more
A moon was discovered orbiting the asteroid, Eugenia. This is only the second time in history that a satellite has been seen circling an asteroid. A special mirror allowed scientists to find the moon...more
Will Russia ever put the service module for the International Space Station in space? NASA officials are demanding an answer from the Russian government. The necessary service module is currently waiting...more
During a period of about two days in early May, 1998, the ACE spacecraft was immersed in plasma associated with a coronal mass ejection (CME). The SWICS instrument on ACE, which determines unambiguously...more
J.S. Maini of the Canadian Forest Service has referred to forests as the "heart and lungs of the world." Forests reduce soil erosion, maintain water quality, contribute to atmospheric humidity and cloud...more
In late April through mid-May 2002, all five naked-eye planets are visible simultaneously in the night sky! This is includes Mercury which is generally very hard to see because of its proximity to the...more