NASA’s Voyager 2 space probe will soon spend 11 months without the ability to receive commands from Earth, according to the agency. That’s because the 48-year-old Australian radio antenna known as DSS43 will undergo much needed hardware upgrades starting this month.
Voyager 2 first launched almost 43 years ago with the task of studying the outer planets in our solar system. While the probe won’t be able to receive instructions from Earth for most of 2020, it will continue to send data to Earth as it enters a quiescent state. DSS43 is the only dish equipped to send data to the space probe in part because it’s only viewable from the southern hemisphere.
NASA’s space probe isn’t the only reason Deep Space Network is upgrading its 20 story office-sized dish either.