CONTOUR's Whereabouts Still Unknown
16 Aug 2002
(Source: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory)
9:30 p.m. (EDT)
Next Operations: Radar and Radio Checks
Efforts to locate the CONTOUR spacecraft - through a series of telescope, radar and radio checks - are expected to continue through the weekend. On Monday, Aug. 19, mission operators plan to check if CONTOUR automatically carries out a built in command to cycle through and transmit through all four of its antennas. The sequence is programmed to begin 96 hours after CONTOUR receives its last command -- meaning it could start as early as 4:09 a.m. (EDT) or as late as 10:09 p.m. Monday -- and would last several hours.
"We aren't sure that the spacecraft is completely gone, and that's what we're going to be working on over the next several days," says Dr. Robert Farquhar, CONTOUR mission director from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, which built the CONTOUR spacecraft and manages the mission for NASA.