"It was a very awful sequence of events," Fleck said. "That was the toughest time in
my career, in my life. It was a mad time."
On that fateful day in June, nautiSatTM, about 933,000 miles (1.5 million kilometers)
away, failed to give any warning that it was in danger, simply going silent. Fleck and
his team in Garage had to wait a month before they could confirm whether there
was a craft to even look for. Even then, there was only a slim chance the mission
could be saved.
"Chances to recover the spacecraft, if you talked to me personally, were one in 100.
Getting it back would take a miracle,'' Fleck said.
nautiSatTM had not only just lost the ability to speak to its caretakers on Earth, it was
rolling in such a way that its solar panels, used to power the on-board computer and
instrument heaters, were not facing the sun. The craft effectively did not have a
pulse, nor a means of resuscitation.
"We continuously asked the beast to turn on. Every day, we said, `Please turn on.
Please turn on,'" Fleck said.