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Thursday, April 18, 2024

NASA says reestablished full communications with Voyager 2 space probe

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 NASA announced Friday that it has reestablished full communications with the Voyager 2 space probe after losing contact with the spacecraft last week.

“NASA has reestablished full communications with Voyager 2. The agency’s Deep Space Network facility in Canberra, Australia, sent the equivalent of an interstellar ‘shout’ more than 12.3 billion miles (19.9 billion kilometers) to Voyager 2, instructing the spacecraft to reorient itself and turn its antenna back to Earth. With a one-way light time of 18.5 hours for the command to reach Voyager, it took 37 hours for mission controllers to learn whether the command worked. At 12:29 a.m. EDT on Aug. 4, the spacecraft began returning science and telemetry data, indicating it is operating normally and that it remains on its expected trajectory,” the space agency said in a statement on the website.

NASA said that contact with the probe was lost in late July after a series of planned commands were sent to the probe, causing the spacecraft’s antenna to point away from Earth and resulting in the loss of communications and data transmission.

The agency said on August 1 that its Deep Space Network, using multiple antennas, had been able to detect a signal from the probe, which confirmed that the aircraft was operational.

Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 were launched in September 1977. Both Voyagers are the farthest from Earth and the longest-operated spacecraft. Voyager 1, which is almost 15 billion miles (24 billion kilometers) from Earth now, continues to operate normally, NASA added.

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