NASA will be unable to command Voyager 2 for almost one year

Video credit: TomoNews US
Published on March 9, 2020 - Duration: 01:35s

NASA will be unable to command Voyager 2 for almost one year

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA — Starting early this month, Voyager 2 will stop receiving commands from NASA, the space agency announced in a news release on March 5.

This is because the transmitter that sends commands to Voyager 2, the DSS43 radio antenna near Canberra, Australia, will undergo "critical upgrades" over the next 11 months.

As Voyager 2 travels in space, the radio antenna won't be able to send commands to the space probe while it is being updated.

The spacecraft is currently flying in a downward direction relative to our planet's orbital plane, which means it can only be in contact with the radio antenna site in Australia.

During this time, the Voyager team will put the spacecraft into a state of inactivity, which will still allow the spacecraft to send back scientific data to the team during the next 11 months.

NASA said in the news release that the radio antenna's transmitters and other parts need to be replaced and upgraded as they are 40 years old and are "increasingly unreliable." The DSS43 antenna is part of the U.S. space agency's deep space network, which is used to communicate and receive information from faraway spacecraft.

NASA said the upgrades will also benefit future space missions such as the Artemis lunar missions and Mars 2020 rover mission.

The upgrades on the DSS43 radio antenna are expected to be complete by January of 2021.


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