LISTEN LIVE

satellite

Royce Bair / Flickr

Calling all planets that orbit around bright, nearby stars: NASA's new Tess spacecraft is looking to do a head count.

State TV Tax Fight Goes To U.S. Supreme Court

Oct 17, 2017

Pointing to “protectionism,” a major satellite-television company is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to take up a constitutional challenge to a Florida law that sets different tax rates for cable and satellite TV services.

An audacious quest to reconnect with a vintage NASA spacecraft has suffered a serious setback and is now pretty much over.

The satellite launched in 1978 and has been in a long, looping orbit around the sun for about three decades. Earlier this year, NPR told you about an effort to get in touch with this venerable piece of NASA hardware and send it on one more adventure.

But there are no guarantees when you try to recapture the past.

A gung-ho group of space enthusiasts has started the process of putting a vintage NASA spacecraft on a new flight path, so that this venerable piece of hardware will be able to do useful science once again.

Keith Cowing discusses his campaign to save an old 1970s NASA spacecraft from becoming space junk. ISEE-3/ICE is a satellite that was once used to monitor space weather, but it's been unused for decades. NASA doesn't want to spend the money to bring it back to life, but Cowing and his colleagues are determined to do it. If they can raise $125,000 on a crowdfunding site called RocketHub, Cowing says they'll contact ISEE-3/ICE, wake it up and put it back to good use.

More than 30 years ago, Robert Farquhar stole a spacecraft.

Now he's trying to give it back.

The green satellite, covered with solar panels, is hurtling back toward the general vicinity of Earth, after nearly three decades of traveling in a large, looping orbit around the sun.