SPACE : Blip Raises Hopes on Magellan


NASA engineers today received a brief radio signal from Magellan, raising hope they could restore full radio contact after losing touch with the Venus-orbiting spacecraft for the second time in five days.

A NASA tracking station detected a brief blip transmitted by Magellan just after it emerged from behind Venus at 12:32 p.m., said Alan Wood, a spokesman at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. The signal indicated that Magellan was spinning as it sent signals into space so some would reach Earth. The next signal was expected later in the afternoon.

NASA engineers had said they expected to resume such intermittent contact with the wayward spacecraft as a step toward restoring a steady radio link.

The engineers lost contact at 7:03 p.m. PDT Tuesday.

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