Scientists revive weather satellite that tumbled in space for nearly a year

After tumbling helpless in space for nearly a year, a $50 million weather satellite has been revived by the government scientists. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced yesterday that it had regained control of the NOAA-8 polar orbiting satellite after the spacecraft's prime oscillator failed April 20.

Launched March 28, 1983, the satellite had been out of control since last June 12, when the oscillator began behaving erratically, delivering confusing frequency and timing signals and causing the machine's subsystems to fail, officials said.

When that oscillator quit last month, officials of NOAA, which operates weather satellites, as well as of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and RCA Astro-Electronics Division, stepped up efforts to regain control of the satellite. The tumbling was finally halted on May 10.

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