Tag Archive : Interstellar


DSN Network to be upgraded,so Voyager 2 is on its own

NASA’S Voyager 2 spacecraft will have to manage itself in the interstellar space for approximately 11 months. NASA launched Voyager 2 in 1977 and it entered the interstellar space in November 2018. NASA is upgrading the 70m wide radio telescope in Australia. They use this dish to send instructions to the spacecraft, so till the upgrade is over voyager has to manage on its own.

Animation of Voyager 2 trajectory.gif
By Phoenix7777Own work
Data source: HORIZONS System, JPL, NASA: xyz coordinates, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

Mission team members say that this is nothing to worry about. Voyager is fully capable of managing on its own. They say that if things don’t go normal after the restoration of the antenna, there’s a fault protection system onboard.

The Australian radio dish is a part of the Deep Space Network (DSN). The network has three dishes in California, Spain, and Australia. But only the Australian one is useful at the present.

Voyager 2 is currently about 11 billion miles from earth. It’s moving downward relative to the earth’s orbital plane. Therefore earth can only send signals to it from the southern hemisphere.

The Australian dish which is in Canberra is 48 years old. Voyager 2 recently pinged back earth after about a month. So the officials have made a decision to upgrade the radio dish because Voyager 2 is back and healthy again. The upgrade begins in early March.

They say that the upgrade will affect the whole DSN network. So this could be very useful in communicating with spacecraft in future missions too.