I received a very interesting link from my good friend Justin (KE8COY) referencing a satellite which came back to life after 46 years – and it’s original purpose was to study HF blackouts!
Vintage News reports:
“Surprise” might be an understatement to describe amateur astronomer Phil Williams’ reaction upon being told that the ghostly radio signal he had detected was in fact coming from a satellite that had failed and disappeared decades ago.
Williams told Southgate Amateur Radio News that the signal he detected from his base in Cornwall seemed to cycle every four seconds, diminishing and returning to create an eerie repetitive sound.
It would later be determined that the fluctuation was the result of the long-lost satellite barreling end over end through the void of space, causing variations in the light reaching the solar panels that Gunter’s Space Page says likely now power the depleted batteries of this 65 lb (30 kg) relic of the space age.
(You can read the full article here.)
How cool is that! I sure would have liked to have been the astronomer/amateur radio geek to discover that transmission! Who knows what other satellites might come back to life? (Or maybe they are sitting dormant until the “Rise of the Machines!”)
Thanks Justin for sharing, and for turning me on to the Vintage News site – very cool indeed!