NASA’s IBEX Spacecraft Resumes Science Operations

This artist’s concept shows the IBEX spacecraft between Earth and the heliosphere. Credit: NASA

NASA’s Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) is fully operational after the mission team successfully reset the spacecraft on March 2.

To take the spacecraft out of a contingency mode it entered last month, the mission team performed a firecode reset (which is an external reset of the spacecraft) instead of waiting for the spacecraft to perform an autonomous reset and power cycle on March 4. The decision took advantage of a favorable communications environment around IBEX’s perigee – the point in the spacecraft’s orbit where it is closest to Earth.

After the firecode reset, command capability was restored. IBEX telemetry shows that the spacecraft is fully operational and functioning normally.

Launched on Oct. 19, 2008, IBEX is a small explorer NASA mission tasked with mapping the boundary where winds from the Sun interact with winds from other stars. IBEX, the size of a bus tire, uses instruments that look toward the interstellar boundary from a nine-day orbit around Earth.