Don Savage Headquarters, Washington, DC (Phone: 202/358-1727

)

August 11, 1998

William Steigerwald Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD (Phone: 301/286-5017) Franco Bonacina European Space Agency Headquarters, Paris, France (Phone: 33-1-5369-7713) RELEASE: 98-149 NEW INFORMATION FROM SOHO INCREASES CHANCES FOR RECOVERY The dormant Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) spacecraft has sent temperature and electrical data to ground controllers, information which could help in the satellite's recovery. The SOHO Recovery Team is working to recharge the spacecraft's batteries, which in turn will allow the team to assess the spacecraft's overall health and condition of the scientific instruments. The SOHO data was received Aug. 8, six days after the spacecraft's first signal since the end of June, at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD. "This is the best news I've heard since we lost contact with SOHO," said Roger Bonnet, Director of Science for the European Space Agency (ESA), NASA's partner in the mission. "I never gave up hope of some recovery of this fantastic mission. We should just hope that the damage sustained by SOHO's enforced period of deep freeze does not affect the scientific payload too much." Following analysis of the expected onboard conditions by engineers from ESA and Matra Marconi Space, the spacecraft's builders, commands were sent through the NASA Deep Space Network station at Goldstone, CA. These sequences were designed to divert the available solar array power into a partial charging of one of the onboard batteries. After 10 hours of charging, the telemetry was

commanded on and seven full sets of data about the onboard status were received, including information on temperatures and voltages for payload instruments. After one minute, ground controllers switched off the telemetry to preserve onboard resources. Because of the spacecraft's orientation, some temperatures are colder than normal, and some are hotter than normal, as expected. The instruments' condition will not be known with certainty until attempts are made to activate them at the end of the recovery sequence. The hydrazine fuel is likely to be partially frozen. Data on voltages and currents in individual units indicated one of the two batteries on board the spacecraft is almost fully charged. Attempts to recharge the second battery are underway. With the battery-charging technique proven successful, the team has requested a full 24-hour coverage of SOHO to attempt a more complete charging. The Deep Space Network has accepted this request on an emergency basis and will give it priority over other scheduled network activities. "I am truly satisfied with the information the data we acquired gives us," said ESA's Francis Vanderbussche, who is in charge of the SOHO Recovery Team at Goddard. "Conditions onboard are as good as we expected them to be." The team is working on the next series of procedures, which will try to thaw the onboard hydrazine fuel, currently at zero degrees Celsius. Thawing the fuel will allow controllers to re-establish control of the spacecraft. The thawing will be attempted later this week after both batteries are fully charged. The delicate recovery activities are being directed by the ESA SOHO project team from the NASA Operation Center at Goddard. SOHO completed its nominal two year mission in April 1998. The spacecraft has already achieved spectacular results concerning the dynamics of the solar interior and has given a comprehensive view of the solar corona. Its mission had recently been extended to 2003 to cover the upcoming

period of maximum solar activity expected to peak in 2001. More information on SOHO, including mission status reports, is available on the Internet at the new ESA science website at: http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/ or at: http://sci.esa.int -end-