Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Earth To Voyager 2 -- Ground Controllers Lose, Then Regain Contact With Space Probe On Solar System's Outer Fringes

Date:
November 19, 1998
Source:
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Summary:
The Voyager 2 spacecraft, now on the outer fringes of the solar system, was returned to normal flight operations Saturday, November 14, after a 66-hour communications black-out which began abruptly on Thursday, November 12.

The Voyager 2 spacecraft, now on the outer fringes of the solar system, was returned to normal flight operations Saturday, November 14, after a 66-hour communications black-out which began abruptly on Thursday, November 12.

Ground controllers at the Deep Space Network station near Madrid, Spain, lost Voyager 2's signal on Wednesday night at about 11:57 p.m. Pacific Standard Time (07:57 Universal Time Thursday). At the time, the spacecraft was in the process of shutting down power to its scan platform which contains science instruments, including the ultraviolet spectrometer. Preliminary analysis indicated that the commands were properly sent to the spacecraft.

Turning off the scan platform is part of a power conservation plan to keep Voyager 2 operating until at least the year 2020. There are still five experiments operating on Voyager 2: the cosmic ray instrument, low-energy charged particle instrument, plasma science instrument, plasma wave instrument and the magnetometer. As the spacecraft's onboard plutonium power source decays, it is necessary to periodically reduce the spacecraft electrical power usage in order to maintain an adequate power margin.

About 720 commands were sent Thursday to turn on the spacecraft's X-band transmitter; however, communication with the spacecraft was not immediately reestablished. Subsequent analysis of the probable failure modes suggested the spacecraft's onboard S-band exciter, a small oscillator used to generate the spacecraft's carrier frequencies, could have been shut off. About 360 commands were sent Friday evening to turn the spacecraft's S-band exciter back on.

The flight team reacquired the spacecraft's signal Saturday evening at approximately 6:18 p.m. Pacific Standard Time (02:18 Universal Time on Sunday). Telemetry had been switched to a data rate of 40 bits per second from the standard operating rate of 160 bits per second. Spacecraft systems were functioning normally, although some hardware components were slightly warmer than expected. The flight team reported that the backup X-band transmitter was on at the time of signal reacquisition.

Subsequent analysis of the spacecraft computer memory showed that the scan platform power-down sequence had executed exactly as planned. The team will continue to analyze data to determine the cause of signal loss.

Voyager 2 is departing the solar system at 48 degrees to the south of the ecliptic plane at a speed of 15.9 kilometers per second (35,000 miles per hour). Round-trip light time from Earth to Voyager 2 is currently about 16 hours. The spacecraft is now 8.4 billion kilometers (5.2 billion miles) from Earth, or more than 56 times farther from the Sun than Earth is.

Its twin, Voyager 1, the most distant human-made object in space, is healthy and operating normally. Voyager 1 is leaving Earth's neighborhood at 35 degrees to the north of the ecliptic plane at a speed of about 17.3 kilometers per second (38,752 miles per hour). Voyager 1 is currently 10.8 billion kilometers (6.7 billion miles) from Earth.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "Earth To Voyager 2 -- Ground Controllers Lose, Then Regain Contact With Space Probe On Solar System's Outer Fringes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 November 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/11/981119074500.htm>.
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. (1998, November 19). Earth To Voyager 2 -- Ground Controllers Lose, Then Regain Contact With Space Probe On Solar System's Outer Fringes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/11/981119074500.htm
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "Earth To Voyager 2 -- Ground Controllers Lose, Then Regain Contact With Space Probe On Solar System's Outer Fringes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/11/981119074500.htm (accessed September 18, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Boeing, SpaceX to Send Astronauts to Space Station

Boeing, SpaceX to Send Astronauts to Space Station

AFP (Sep. 17, 2014) — NASA selected Boeing and SpaceX on Tuesday to build America's next spacecraft to carry astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) by 2017, opening the way to a new chapter in human spaceflight. Duration: 01:13 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
East Coast Treated To Rare Meteor Sighting

East Coast Treated To Rare Meteor Sighting

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) — Numerous residents along the East Coast reported seeing a bright meteor flash through the sky Sunday night. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Space Race Pits Bezos Vs Musk

Space Race Pits Bezos Vs Musk

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 16, 2014) — Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' startup will team up with Boeing and Lockheed to develop rocket engines as Elon Musk races to have his rockets certified. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA Picks Boeing and SpaceX to Ferry Astronauts

NASA Picks Boeing and SpaceX to Ferry Astronauts

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — NASA is a giant step closer to launching Americans again from U.S. soil. It has announced it has picked Boeing and SpaceX to transport astronauts to the International Space Station in the next few years. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins