There’s never been a radio silence quite like this one. After long months with no way of making contact with Voyager 2, NASA has finally reestablished communications with the record-setting interstellar spacecraft.
The breakdown in communications – lasting since March, almost eight months and a whole pandemic ago – wasn’t due to some rogue malfunction, nor any run-in with interstellar space weirdness (although there’s that too).
In this instance, it was more a case of routine maintenance. And yet, when you’re one of the farthest-flying spacecraft in history – leaving Earth and even the entire solar system behind you – nothing much is ever truly routine.
In March, NASA announced that Deep Space Station 43 (DSS-43) in Australia, the only antenna on Earth that can send commands to Voyager 2, required critical upgrades and would need to shut down for approximately 11 months for the work to be completed.