Amateur astronomers first suspected that they’d found the satellite in 2013, but needed years to confirm that it was still occasionally transmitting. The satellite, dubbed LES1, was built by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and launched into space in 1965.
A mistake in the satellite’s circuitry caused it to never leave its circular orbit, and it eventually stop transmitting in 1967. The satellite’s signal now fluctuates widely in strength, meaning that it’s likely only transmitting when its solar panels are in direct sunlight. Scientists expect that the satellite’s onboard batteries have disintegrated.
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