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Two spacecraft bite the cosmic dust.

Two spacecraft bite the cosmic dust. In June the French space agency CNES declared that its exoplanet hunter COROT was officially "mission accomplie" within a few days of the Caltech-led GALEX being shut off. COROT stopped sending data last November, and engineers have been looking for a solution since then. The failure's exact cause remains unknown, but it looks like the converter that delivers power to the onboard computer can't give the electrical kick needed to restart, potentially due to a high-energy particle impact. (The electronics were also only certified to last three years, and they've been in space for six.) GALEX's fate is funds-driven. It observed the ultraviolet universe for a decade and was the first NASA spacecraft handed over to a private organization (Caltech), but after extensive fund-raising the team finally decided to "end the mission on a high note and move on to other projects." Both satellites will take roughly 50 years to reenter Earth's atmosphere.

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Title Annotation:In Brief; Convection, Rotation and Planetary Transits (CoRoT) satellite and Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GalEx)
Author:Carlisle, Camille M.
Publication:Sky & Telescope
Article Type:Brief article
Date:Oct 1, 2013
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