NASA Reestablishes Contact With Voyager 2

NASA officials previously said they didn't expect to reconnect with Voyager 2 prior to October.

Just days after NASA lost contact with Voyager 2, the space agency reconnected with the interstellar spacecraft. Friday, NASA officials revealed they'd officially reestablished a connection with the craft, which successfully returned transmitted data to officials with the Voyager mission.

"The agency's Deep Space Network facility in Canberra, Australia, sent the equivalent of an interstellar 'shout' more than 12.3 billion miles (19.9 billion kilometers) to Voyager 2, instructing the spacecraft to reorient itself and turn its antenna back to Earth," NASA wrote in a blog update. "With a one-way light time of 18.5 hours for the command to reach Voyager, it took 37 hours for mission controllers to learn whether the command worked. At 12:29 a.m. EDT on Aug. 4, the spacecraft began returning science and telemetry data, indicating it is operating normally and that it remains on its expected trajectory."

After scheduled maintenance accidentally tilted Voyager 2's antenna too far from Earth in July, NASA said it likely wouldn't be able to "speak" to the craft prior to additional maintenance in October.

"A series of planned commands sent to NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft July 21 inadvertently caused the antenna to point 2 degrees away from Earth. As a result, Voyager 2 is currently unable to receive commands or transmit data back to Earth," a statement from NASA said earlier this month.

"Voyager 2 is programmed to reset its orientation multiple times each year to keep its antenna pointing at Earth; the next reset will occur on Oct. 15, which should enable communication to resume," the statement added. "The mission team expects Voyager 2 to remain on its planned trajectory during the quiet period."

Voyager 2 is roughly 12.3 billion miles from Earth, just under its sibling craft Voyager 1, which is approximately 15 billion miles from the planet.

"[Glitches] happen from time to time," Glen Nagle, Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex outreach manager, said in a new chat with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. "It's always interesting when you have a spacecraft which is coming up to its 46th anniversary in a space mission only designed to last 12 years... It is aging and getting farther away from us every single day. We do know we'll lose contact with the spacecraft sometime toward the end of this decade."

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