|NASA reports that its STEREO-B spacecraft has made contact after two years of silence. STEREO-B is one of two Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatories launched in 2006. (NASA)|
| NASA is reporting that one of the Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatories, known as the STEREO-B spacecraft, has made contact after two years of silence.
Along with its sister STEREO-A, the prodigal probe is tasked with
observing the sun. When the two were launched back in 2006, the STEREO spacecraft entered an orbit around the sun respectively just ahead of and just behind the Earth, allowing them to observe solar phenomena such as coronal mass ejections from multiple angles.
… STEREO-B went silent just after mission control tested its “command loss timer,” a hard reset that would be automatically triggered if STEREO-B ever stopped communicating with Earth for 72 hours. During STEREO-B’s primary mission, the spacecraft was never meant to go incommunicado. But because it lived so long, it drifted into a slightly different orbit, setting itself up to pass behind the sun. …