Before the pandemic, NASA announced that they had received commands for the first time months after the Voyager 2 spacecraft it communicated with in March. About 11.6 billion miles from home and launched in 1977, Voyager 2 still does its job without hesitation.
Contact with Voyager 2 months later
Voyager 2, one of NASA’s most traveled spacecraft, could not communicate for about 8 months. The spacecraft, which travels in space alone and is about 11.6 billion miles from the earth, transmits the data it collects to us. However, the radio antenna that enabled the spacecraft to connect with NASA, which was contacted by a space station (DSS43) in Australia, went offline during a series of updates.
Some transmitters on the DSS43 have not been changed in about 43 years, according to NASA. Voyager 2 was pinged for the first time on 29 October to test new hardware. This meant that the spacecraft was signaled for the first time in months. Because the spacecraft was far away, it took about 34 hours for the communications team to receive a response. Voyager 2, which received the commands without any problem, sent a ‘Hello’ message as a reply. The station announced in a tweet that the spacecraft was being contacted.
NASA’s Deep Space Network enables scientists to communicate with spacecraft and rovers in the solar system. The network consists of 3 large telescopes in the USA, Spain and Australia. However, telescopes in Spain and the USA cannot communicate with spacecraft due to their orbit.
Speaking on the subject, NASA executive Brad Arnold said, “This test conversation with Voyager 2 shows us that things are going well.” These upgrades are expected to be completed in 2021.