Lost contact with Voyager 2.

Confirmation of loss of contact with Voyager 2, currently approximately 21 billion kilometers from Earth.

On July 21, commands sent from Earth to Voyager 2 accidentally caused Voyager’s High Gain Antenna to point 2 degrees away from Earth. Therefore Voyager cannot currently receive messages from Earth or send messages in the direction of Earth.

A 2 degree shift in the direction Voyager’s antenna points at 1,990 km will cause the antenna beam to pass about 700 million km from Earth. 2 degree is not a small matter. Add to that the fact that two-way communication with Voyager 2 currently takes more than 43 hours.

But engineers have prepared protocols and systems to recover space probes that fall into such situations. We will have to wait till October 15 for that. The space craft will autonomously attempt to reset its orientation as the onboard computers are programmed to do so.

Through the software control, the probe will scan the general area of ​​the earth by operating small thrusters and with the help of Sun Tracker and Star Trackers, and try to lock the direction of maximum energy of Carrier waves sent by DSN antennas. Then normal communication should be possible.

(Voyagers are Spin Stabilized. Voyagers are spin stabilized on the axis that passes through the middle of the antenna. Communication is possible only if that line passes through the Earth.)

Hopefully Voyager 2 will return…

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