Nasa has re-established a connection with the long-lost STEREO-B spacecraft after more than 22 months, after they lost contact with the craft in 2014.
One of two nearly-identical satellites that were put into orbit in 2006, the STEREO — Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory — missions were sent into space to orbit the sun and record stereoscopic images of the sun. They were scheduled to only last in orbit until 2008, but their longevity served as a boon for researchers.
Nasa lost connection with the probe in October 2014 after performing a communications test that required the probe to be shut down from Earth for 72 hours. “The STEREO team was testing this function in preparation for something known as solar conjunction, when STEREO-B’s line of sight to Earth — and therefore all communication — was blocked by the sun,” a statement from Nasa read.
While the researchers at Nasa still need to figure out whether the probe itself if still fully functional, the fact that they managed to establish contact with it is a positive sign. The connection was established using the Deep Space Network, which tracks missions throughout space