NASA Spacecraft Continues its 17-Year Journey Written 21 August 2023


Artist concept of NASA STEREO-A Spacecraft Observing a very active Sun. | Credit: NASA/GSFC; NASA

The Washington Post reports that for nearly 17 years, NASA’s Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory-A spacecraft “drifted through space on a lonely mission.” It traveled “around the sun far ahead of Earth, conducting groundbreaking research on the solar system’s star.” Like many NASA spacecraft, STEREO-A “outlived its mission life span of two years.” Instead, it “traveled further and further away from Earth on a journey that became fraught with uncertainty as it passed behind the sun in 2015, temporarily severing contact with NASA.” The same year, the agency “lost contact with STEREO-A’s sibling vessel, STEREO-B, which was traveling a similar path.” But STEREO-A kept going. And its orbital trajectory “around the sun meant that it had a chance to do what very few other NASA spacecraft could: eventually make its way back toward home.”
Full Story (Washington Post)