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ISEE-3/ICE
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ISEE-3/ICE
ISEE-3/ICE Mission to Comets ISEE-3/ICE Mission to Our Solar System

Goals: International Sun-Earth Explorer-3 (ISEE-3) was to investigate the solar wind and its interaction with Earth's magnetic field, among other phenomena in interplanetary space. It was later renamed International Cometary Explorer (ICE) and used to study two comets during an extended mission.

Accomplishments: ISEE-3 conducted the first deep survey of Earth's magnetic tail. Then, after a series of complex flybys of the Moon, the spacecraft was renamed the International Cometary Explorer (ICE) and became the first spacecraft to fly past a comet (Giacobini-Zinner). Its observations supported the theory that comets are "dirty snowballs." The following year, it joined international exploration of Comet Halley by providing data on the solar wind approaching the comet.

   

Key Dates
12 Aug 1978:  Launch (15:12 UT)
20 Nov 1978:  Entered Halo orbit at Lagrangian Libration Point 1 (L1)
22 Dec 1983:  Entered Heliocentric Orbit
11 Sep 1985:  Traversed Plasma Tail of Comet Giacobini-Zinner
Mar 1986:  Comet Halley Observations
Status: Successful
Fast Facts
ISEE-3/ICE was the first spacecraft to orbit a Lagrangian libration point and the first to monitor the solar wind.

It also was the first spacecraft to fly past a comet (Giacobini-Zinner).
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Last Updated: 7 Feb 2014