NASA Reconnects with Voyager 2 Spacecraft after Accidental Communication Loss

NASA hears from Voyager2 after Mistakenly Cutting Contact

Voyager 2 Follows Its Twin in Interstellar Space, Positioned Over 12 Billion Miles (19 Billion Kilometers) from Earth.

NASA has reestablished communication with Voyager 2, which is currently in interstellar space billions of miles away, after days of silence. This silence occurred due to a mistaken command sent by flight controllers nearly two weeks ago, causing the spacecraft’s antenna to tilt away from Earth and lose contact.

NASA’s Deep Space Network, a network of large radio antennas spread across the globe, detected a “heartbeat signal,” indicating that the 46-year-old Voyager 2 is operational and alive. Project manager Suzanne Dodd shared this encouraging news via email on Tuesday, stating that the discovery lifted their spirits.

Next, the flight controllers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California will attempt to reorient Voyager 2’s antenna back towards Earth. However, they doubt the success of this command, and if it fails, they will have to wait until October for an automatic spacecraft reset.

Currently, the antenna is only 2% off its intended position, but the wait until October is quite extensive. Therefore, the team plans to make several attempts to send commands before the designated time. Voyager 2 was launched into space in 1977, alongside its twin spacecraft, Voyager 1, with the objective of exploring the outer planets.

While Voyager 2 encountered communication issues, its counterpart Voyager 1 is still in excellent working condition and communicating with Earth. Voyager 1 holds the record for being the farthest spacecraft from Earth, positioned at a distance of 15 billion miles (24 billion kilometers). In comparison, Voyager 2 follows behind its twin in interstellar space, located over 12 billion miles (19 billion kilometers) away from Earth. At this immense distance, it takes more than 18 hours for a signal to travel one way.

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