After months of disconnection with Voyager 2, NASA has finally reestablished a connection with one of its longest-running missions.
Voyager 2 spacecraft has been traveling through space since 1977. It is traveling at a distance of more than 1.6 billion miles from Earth. For the last 43 years, it was in touch with the scientists in ground control. However this year in March, there was a breakdown in communications.
This breakdown was not due to any malfunction, but scientists wanted to upgrade their communication system. So, Voyager 2 was left to its own devices in mid-March.
On Oct. 29, NASA sent commands to Voyager 2 spacecraft using the ground-based Deep Space Station 43 (DSS43) antenna. Voyager 2 answered the call and executed the commands. But because of the distance, the scientists had to wait more than 34 hours for a reply.
Brad Arnold, the DSN project manager, said, “This test communication with Voyager 2 definitely tells us that things are on track with the work we’re doing.”
Philip Baldwin, operations manager for NASA’s Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) Program, said, “The agency made the decision to conduct these upgrades to ensure that the antenna can continue to be used for current and future missions.”
“For an antenna that is almost 50 years old, it’s better to be proactive than reactive with critical maintenance.”
According to the scientists, these repairs not only helped in reconnecting with Voyager 2 but will also benefit other missions.