Civilians in Abandoned McDonald’s Seize Control of Wandering Space Satellite

Great use for a 36 year old satellite that is still wandering but not lost in space. Besides, what do you really expect a retired NASA engineer to do?

Betabeat

The McMoon team outside of mission control. (Photo via Google) The McMoon’s team outside of mission control. (Photo via Google)

For the first time in history, an independent crew is taking control of a NASA satellite and running a crowdfunded mission. They’re doing it all from a makeshift mission control center in an abandoned McDonald’s in Mountain View, CA, using old radio parts from eBay and a salvaged flat screen TV.

“If I could come up with another absurd detail, I would,” Keith Cowing, the project’s team lead, told Betabeat.

The ISEE-3 is a disco-era satellite that used to measure space weather like solar wind and radiation, but went out of commission decades ago. Now, a small team led by Mr. Cowing have taken control of the satellite with NASA’s silent blessing.

Mr. Cowing is a former NASA employee, and now runs a handful of space news sites, like NASA Watch and SpaceRef. Sitting out in the desert one night after a…

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