Contact has been re-established with the European Space Agency (ESA)/NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) spacecraft following six weeks of silence.

Signals sent yesterday through the NASA Deep Space Network (DSN) station at Canberra, Australia, were answered by SOHO at 6:51 p.m. EDT in the form of bursts of signal lasting from two to ten seconds. These signals were recorded both by the NASA DSN station and the ESA station at Perth, Australia. Contact is being maintained through the NASA DSN stations at Goldstone, CA; Canberra; and Madrid, Spain.

Although the signals are intermittent and do not contain any data information, they show that the spacecraft is still capable of receiving and responding to ground commands.

"This is an excellent sign," said Dr. Joe Gurman, NASA SOHO Project Scientist at the Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD. "It means the spacecraft still has a heartbeat and gives us added optimism that we may be able to restore SOHO to scientific operation. Our next step, already underway, is to continue the careful process of attempting to re-establish control of the spacecraft. We will be attempting, in the near future, to begin data transmissions in order to get an assessment of SOHO's condition."

More information, images and status reports from SOHO can be found on the Internet at:

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