24/7 Space News
Voyager 2 goes silent with a temporary communication interruption with Earth
illustration only
Voyager 2 goes silent with a temporary communication interruption with Earth
by Brad Bartz
Los Angeles CA (SPX) Jul 31, 2023

Amidst its epic journey into the cosmos, NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft has temporarily lost contact with the blue planet. An accidental deviation of the antenna's alignment on July 21 has caused an unexpected silence in the spacecraft's interstellar communications.

Voyager 2, nestled over 12.3 billion miles (19.9 billion kilometers) away from Earth, slightly misaligned its antenna by 2 degrees following a routine transmission of planned commands. This minimal misdirection has led to an unexpected halt in the flow of data between the spacecraft and our home planet, as Voyager 2 can neither receive commands nor transmit data back to Earth.

The unanticipated pause in communication was triggered due to the misalignment, effectively disrupting the spacecraft's contact with NASA's Deep Space Network (DSN) antennas stationed on the ground. The DSN, a critical part of Voyager 2's communication apparatus, has been rendered incapable of receiving the data sent by the spacecraft. Correspondingly, Voyager 2 is also deprived of receiving instructions from the DSN's ground controllers.

Despite this interruption, Voyager 2 has not deviated from its intended path and will continue along its planned trajectory. The design of the spacecraft includes a built-in mechanism that ensures its antenna periodically resets its orientation towards Earth, irrespective of the spacecraft's position in space. This mechanism comes into play several times a year, acting as a critical failsafe to maintain the interstellar bond between the spacecraft and Earth.

The next automatic antenna reset of Voyager 2 is scheduled for Oct. 15. Following this reset, the spacecraft's antenna will realign its focus towards Earth, restoring the communication links. The mission team remains hopeful that this scheduled realignment will serve as an effective solution to the current disruption.

While Voyager 2 is experiencing this temporary period of radio silence, its twin, Voyager 1, maintains a consistent line of communication with Earth. Situated almost 15 billion miles (24 billion kilometers) away, Voyager 1 continues to operate as expected, reassuring scientists of the resilience and reliability of these pioneering interstellar probes.

The silence from Voyager 2 is a stark reminder of the colossal distances that separate these spacecraft from our home planet and the critical importance of precision in interstellar missions. As we await the anticipated reconnection in October, Voyager 2 continues its silent journey, serving as a symbol of mankind's relentless pursuit of knowledge and exploration beyond our own celestial backyard.

Related Links
Space Tourism, Space Transport and Space Exploration News

Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters

The following news reports may link to other Space Media Network websites.
Voyager will do more science with new power strategy
Pasadena CA (JPL) Apr 27, 2023
Launched in 1977, the Voyager 2 spacecraft is more than 12 billion miles (20 billion kilometers) from Earth, using five science instruments to study interstellar space. To help keep those instruments operating despite a diminishing power supply, the aging spacecraft has begun using a small reservoir of backup power set aside as part of an onboard safety mechanism. The move will enable the mission to postpone shutting down a science instrument until 2026, rather than this year. Voyager 2 and its tw ... read more

NASA hears 'heartbeat' from Voyager 2 after inadvertant blackout

Science enabling heat and air conditioning for long-term space habitats is almost fully available

Bartolomeo is the easy way of bringing payloads to space stations

NASA Named One of America's Top Employers for Women

The world's largest ComSat ever built launches on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket

Marotta Controls Delivers 30,000th CoRe Valve to SpaceX

SpaceX successfully launches 22 Starlink satellites

SpaceX misses attempt for record-breaking 'double-launch' attempt

Deep Impact: Sol 3899

Making the Most of Limited Power: Sols 3900-3901

Frosty the ChemCam: Sols 3902-3904

Making the most of limited power: Sols 3900-3901

Shenzhou 15 crew share memorable moments from Tiangong Station mission

China's Space Station Opens Doors to Global Scientific Community

China's Lunar Mission targets manned landing by 2030

Shenzhou XVI crew set to conduct their first EVA

JUPITER 3 set to revolutionize satellite connectivity across the Americas

New Heights for Satellite Communication: Iridium Launches Certus for Aviation

Iridium Board of Directors approves additional share repurchase program

Leaf Space secures additional edging closer to seamless satellite connectivity

Aeolus: a historic end to a trailblazing mission

European wind-mapping satellite returned safely to Earth

Mystery object on Australian beach identified as part of Indian rocket

China imposes export curbs on critical metals, drones

Using cosmic weather to study which worlds could support life

Violent Atmosphere Gives Rare Look at Early Planetary Life

Water discovered in rocky planet-forming zone offers clues on habitability

NASA lab hopes to find life's building blocks in asteroid sample

NASA's Juno Is Getting Ever Closer to Jupiter's Moon Io

James Webb Space Telescope sees Jupiter moons in a new light

SwRI team identifies giant swirling waves at the edge of Jupiter's magnetosphere

First ultraviolet data collected by ESA's JUICE mission

Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters


The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2023 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.