NASA had sought the spacecraft, a value of about $ US150 million, for two years before dropping out.For an amateur astronomer, he has the stuff of dreams.”by far, it’s the most important thing that I’ve found,” Tilley, an electrical engineer. “’s a pretty cool thing in my world.”Tilley, who lives in british Columbia, has alone found the time to follow-up spacecraft of the IMAGE, which NASA launched in 2000 and has lost touch with five years later.At dinner, he told his wife about his discovery. She told him to tell the NASA.”I said, ‘Well, how do I do it?’ ” Tilley said.” She said, ‘If you can find a satellite in space, there is no doubt that you can find out who built the thing.’ “So Tilley posted on Twitter what he had found. Then he received a few names of scientists who had worked on the project and sent a few e-mails.”When I woke up, my inbox was filled with emails from people who have worked in the early 2000s,” Tilley said.NASA has confirmed the discovery through the identification of data collected by scientists from the Johns Hopkins university Applied Physics Laboratory in Maryland.Now, the agency seeks to learn more about the condition of the IMAGE and see if it can once again collect data from the craft was first sent up to gather it.”We are all very, very happy that we could have the satellite back,”, said Patricia Reiff, who has been co-investigator of the satellite IMAGE and is a professor of physics and astronomy at Rice University. She had worked on the project since its inception in 1989.NASA had stopped searching for the IMAGE in 2007 because of funding, she said, and she did not expect ever to be found.The problem now is that, because the IMAGE’s the technology is so old, that NASA has to be creative in finding ways to communicate with the aging of software.The mission of the IMAGE was to gather space weather data that would have an impact on the technology, such as GPS devices and radio waves. The satellite was doing its job efficiently until 2005, when it went dead.The scientists say that they believe that there was a problem in the sound of the drums that led to the closure. It can be recharged using the solar energy after you have been inactive for more than a decade and has been sending a signal of rallying in the space, waiting for someone to find it.That someone was Tilley.”They’d given up on looking for it, and I happened to stumble on it,”, he said.Tilley traces of his interest in the space of 60 Minutes special he had seen when he was a child.His father was an amateur radio operator, so that he was able to use his father’s equipment found around the house to tinker and explore.He said that his love of space was not driven by the goal to discover the satellites or other man-made objects. He loves the exploration for the trip. It is not so difficult to find something important that has escaped to brilliant scientists.”you feel like you’ve contributed something of value to the science,”, he said.The Washington PostMorning & The After-Noon NewsletterDelivered Lun.–Fri.