The Voyager will be broadcasting in 2018

Space travel: Nasa can communicate with Voyager 2 again

Hello from interstellar space: The US space agency National Aeronautics And Space Administration (NASA) has been actively communicating with the Voyager 2 probe for the first time in eight months. The reason for the radio silence was work on an antenna in Australia.

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Deep Space Station 43, or DSS43 for short, is the name of the antenna that is located near the Australian capital Canberra. The 70-meter antenna is the only one through which NASA can still send messages to the probe. No other antenna in the southern hemisphere has a transmitter that transmits on the correct frequency and has enough power to reach Voyager.

Two transmitters were exchanged

DSS43 has been in use since 1972. After 48 years, it needed some upgrades, according to NASA. So two new transmitters were installed. The one used to communicate with Voyager was in use for almost five decades. During this time, NASA was able to receive data and status reports from Voyager 2. However, it was not possible to send messages to the probe.

On October 29th, NASA was able to send a series of commands to Voyager 2 for the first time since mid-March. The probe returned a signal confirming that it had received the signal from Earth and carried out the commands without any problems.

NASA had to wait a while for the answer: Voyager 2 is now about 18.8 billion kilometers from Earth. The signal run time is 17 hours in one direction. It takes 34 hours until a response from the probe arrives back on Earth. At the beginning of the year there had been a problem: the probe had shut down after an error.

Voyager 2 and its sister probe Voyager 1 were launched in 1977. Both have since left our solar system - first Voyager 1, Voyager 2 followed at the end of 2018 - and have penetrated into interstellar space.