The Ulysses was designed to study the Sun as a joint venture between NASA and the European Space Agency. As part of the mission an encounter with Jupiter was scheduled to facilitate the major orbital plane shift required to study the Sun at all latitudes.
The mission ended on 30 June 2009 when it was determined scientists were unable to prevent the altitude control fuel from freezing and the probe was commanded to shut down transmission.
On 12 February 2011 between 15.35 and 20.20 UTC the Madrid Deep Space Network ground station picked up a series of short broadcasts thought to come from the Ulysses. It is believed that the probe’s radioisotope thermoelectric generator had momentarily restarted as it passed through the ion tail of Comet C/2011 S5.
The scrambled transmissions have been painstakingly pieced back together and are displayed here for the first time. NASA have not released information as to the whereabouts of the Ulysses when this broadcast occurred.