Contact lost & regained with NEAR

Matson, Robert (ROBERT.D.MATSON@cpmx.saic.com)
Wed, 23 Dec 1998 15:57:04 -0800

Hi All,

Slightly off-topic, I just spotted some messages at an ABC news
site indicating that radio contact was lost with the NEAR (Near Earth
Asteroid Rendezvous) spacecraft at about 5pm EST on Sunday,
December 20th, as its speed was being adjusted for Eros orbital
insertion.  For the full story see:

http://abcnews.go.com/sections/science/DailyNews/asteroid_near981221.html

Contact was eventually reestablished 27 hours later by NASA's
Deep Space Network about 8 p.m. EST Monday:

"'There was just an electricity that went through the group--just to
know that it was still out there. Everybody was radiant,' Ms. Worth
said today. 'They've been working round-the-clock. They're
exhausted.'  Scientists suspect the signal was there all along,
but that they were not looking in the right place. Even a small
deviation in the position of the spacecraft could have caused
scientists to miss the signal, she explained."

The problem will likely cause NEAR to have to delay its
orbital insertion (which was to occur Jan. 10) until at least
the first week of February.  See also:

http://abcnews.go.com/sections/science/DailyNews/asteroid_near981222.html

--Rob