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CONTOUR contact attempts continue
Posted: Tue, Aug 20, 2002, 8:05 AM ET (1205 GMT)
CONTOUR spacecraft illustration (NASA/JHUAPL) Efforts to contact NASA's CONTOUR spacecraft will continue through this week as project officials struggle to understand what happened to the spacecraft. In a statement released late Monday officials said they had images from several telescopes which confirmed that there are two objects traveling on a trajectory similar to one intended for CONTOUR, indicating that something severe happened to the spacecraft near the end of its engine burn or shortly thereafter. What would have caused such a severe event, though, is uncertain. A timer on CONTOUR was scheduled to go off on Monday, instructing the spacecraft to transmit using its low-gain antennas, but so far no signals have been detected from the spacecraft. If no communications are received from CONTOUR this week, project officials plan to wait until December before making one final concentrated effort to make contact with CONTOUR, when the spacecraft is more favorably oriented towards Earth.
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