An Amateur Radio Astronomer in North Cornwall accidentally picked up the signal in 2013 and after cross checking with various lists, has identified it as LES1 built by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and launched in 1965. The satellite failed to reach its intended orbit owing to a wiring error and has been drifting out of control ever since.
Phil Williams G3YPQ from near Bude noticed its peculiar signal drift caused by its tumbling end over end every 4 seconds as the solar panels become shadowed by the engine. ‘This gives the signal a particularly ghostly sound as the voltage from the solar panels fluctuates’ Phil says.
It is likely that the on board batteries have now disintegrated and some other component failure has caused the transmitter on 237Mhz, to start up when its in sunlight.
...Phil says its remarkable to think that electronics built nearly 50 years ago, 12 years before Voyager 1, and long before microprocessors and integrated circuits, is still capable of working in the hostile environs of space.
Saturday, December 19, 2015
Old Satellite Wants Attention Again
Back in October, John tagged this interesting story about an abandoned satellite starting to send signals again: