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A dormant spacecraft will swing past Earth in August, and private space flight enthusiasts have plans to put it back to work.

The International Sun/Earth Explorer 3 (ISEE-3) was a joint US and European spacecraft launched in 1978. It was initially deployed to the L1 Lagrange point, a spot between the sun and Earth where the combined gravitational forces of the two massive objects effectively holds smaller objects in place. From this vantage point, the spacecraft studied how charged particles from the sun, called the solar wind, interact with our planet's magnetic field.

In the mid-1980s the spacecraft also had a career as a comet chaser: It was sent into orbit around the sun and directed to pass through the tails of comets Giacobini-Zinner and Halley, collecting data on their composition. The spacecraft was ordered to shut down in 1997.

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