NASA completely restored communication with Voyager 2

NASA has managed to fully restore communication with the Voyager 2 probe located in interstellar space. It resumed transmitting telemetry to Earth.

The Voyager spacecraft in the artist’s viewimage. Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Communication with Voyager 2 was lost on July 21, 2023. This was due to a set of commands passed to it, one of which turned out to be erroneous. After completing it, the spacecraft changed its orientation and its antenna deviated from the communication line with the Earth by two degrees. This turned out to be enough for Voyager 2 to lose the ability to transmit the collected information.

Initially, it was believed that contact with Voyager 2 would be restored no earlier than mid-October, when it was supposed to perform a programmed maneuver to reset its orientation (this procedure is embedded in the spacecraft’s computer just in case such a situation occurs).  However, during the scanning of the sky, the complex of the Deep Space Network in Canberra (DSN) managed to capture the carrier signal from Voyager 2. This “heartbeat” confirmed that the spacecraft remained operational, and also indicated the possibility that an Earth messenger would be able to receive a command from Earth.

After that, the engineers decided to send Voyager 2 a command to reorient the antenna. Since the radio signal emitted from Earth takes 18.5 hours to reach the spacecraft, they had to wait 37 hours to find out if the plan worked.

In the end, everything was resolved safely. On August 4, Voyager 2 broke its radio silence and resumed transmitting telemetry. It is reported that all systems of the spacecraft are operating normally.

Recall that Voyager 2 will celebrate its 46th birthday on August 20. You can read our materials about the grandiose journey of the spacecraft, as well as what awaits it in the future.

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