The Ulysses spacecraft, whose mission was expected to end on 1 July 2008, is hanging on valiantly as spacecraft controllers wait for a sign of the fuel freeze that would end the mission. This could happen any time now.
Controllers will know that the fuel needed to keep the antenna pointing towards Earth has started to freeze when Earth-pointing manoeuvres become less efficient and the radio signals from the spacecraft grow weaker.
In the meantime, Ulysses is still providing important science data as it pursues its exploration of the heliosphere, the sphere of influence of our star.
Although the spacecraft can now transmit data only in real time, the amazing 17.5-year-old mission is using all the time it has left to add to the wealth of information collected so far.
Ulysses hanging on valiantly (2008, July 3)
retrieved 8 December 2021
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Ulysses hanging on valiantly