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An amateur astronomer has made contact with a long-lost NASA satellite, the agency announced Tuesday (Jan. 30). The Imager for Magnetopause-to-Aurora Global Exploration (IMAGE) satellite was launched in March 2000, and exceeded its initial two-year mission by operating through 2005. However, NASA controllers lost contact with the satellite in December 2005, bringing the mission to an abrupt end. Now, engineers from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center have confirmed that a signal detected by the amateur astronomer (who was not named in the statement) is actually from the IMAGE satellite. The engineers used NASA's Deep Space Network — which consists of a series of ground-based radio telescopes — to identify the signal. "On the afternoon of Jan. 30, the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab in Laurel, Maryland, successfully collected telemetry data from the satellite," NASA officials said in a statement. "The signal showed that the space craft ID was 166 — the ID for IMAGE. The NASA team has been able to read some basic housekeeping data from the spacecraft, suggesting that at least the main control system is operational."