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Title    Humanity's Most Distant Space Probe Jeopardized by Computer Glitch
Date    Friday February 09, @05:18PM
Author    janrinok
Topic   
from the d'oh! dept.
https://soylentnews.org/article.pl?sid=24/02/07/1620221

Freeman writes:

https://arstechnica.com/space/2024/02/humanitys-most-distant-space-probe-jeopardized-by-computer-glitch/

Voyager 1 is still alive out there, barreling into the cosmos more than 15 billion miles away. However, a computer problem has kept the mission's loyal support team in Southern California from knowing much more about the status of one of NASA's longest-lived spacecraft.

The computer glitch cropped up on November 14, and it affected Voyager 1's ability to send back telemetry data, such as measurements from the spacecraft's science instruments or basic engineering information about how the probe was doing. [...] "It would be the biggest miracle if we get it back. We certainly haven't given up," said Suzanne Dodd, Voyager project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in an interview with Ars. "There are other things we can try. But this is, by far, the most serious since I've been project manager."

Dodd became the project manager for NASA's Voyager mission in 2010, overseeing a small cadre of engineers responsible for humanity's exploration into interstellar space. Voyager 1 is the most distant spacecraft ever, speeding away from the Sun at 38,000 mph (17 kilometers per second). [...] The latest problem with Voyager 1 lies in the probe's Flight Data Subsystem (FDS), one of three computers on the spacecraft working alongside a command-and-control central computer and another device overseeing attitude control and pointing. [...] In November, the data packages transmitted by Voyager 1 manifested a repeating pattern of ones and zeros as if it were stuck, according to NASA. Dodd said engineers at JPL have spent the better part of three months trying to diagnose the cause of the problem. She said the engineering team is "99.9 percent sure" the problem originated in the FDS, which appears to be having trouble "frame syncing" data. [...] "It's likely somewhere in the FDS memory," Dodd said. "A bit got flipped or corrupted. But without the telemetry, we can't see where that FDS memory corruption is."

[...] "We have sheets and sheets of schematics that are paper, that are all yellowed on the corners, and all signed in 1974," Dodd said. "They're pinned up on the walls and people are looking at them. That's a whole story in itself, just how to get to the information you need to be able to talk about the commanding decisions or what the problem might be." [...] "It is difficult to command Voyager," Dodd said. "We don't have any type of simulator for this. We don't have any hardware simulator. We don't have any software simulator... There's no simulator with the FDS, no hardware where we can try it on the ground first before we send it. So that makes people more cautious, and it's a balance between getting commanding right and taking risks."

[...] The spacecraft's vast distance and position in the southern sky require NASA to use the largest 230-foot (70-meter) antenna at a Deep Space Network tracking site in Australia, one of the network's most in-demand antennas.

"The data rates are very low, and this anomaly causes us not to have any telemetry," Dodd said. "We're kind of shooting in the blind a little bit because we don't know what the status of the spacecraft is completely."

Previously on SoylentNews:
Engineers Work to Fix Voyager 1 Computer - 20231215

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Search for voyager on SoylentNews:
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Original Submission

Links

  1. "Freeman" - https://soylentnews.org/~Freeman/
  2. "one of the network's most in-demand antennas" - https://arstechnica.com/space/2023/08/nasas-artemis-i-mission-nearly-broke-the-deep-space-network/
  3. "Engineers Work to Fix Voyager 1 Computer" - https://soylentnews.org/article.pl?sid=23/12/15/0416206
  4. "NASA Back in Touch With Voyager 2 After 'Interstellar Shout'" - https://soylentnews.org/article.pl?sid=23/08/08/0755216
  5. "The Farthest-away Pictures of Earth Ever Taken" - https://soylentnews.org/article.pl?sid=23/04/23/1330254
  6. "NASA Fixed the Glitch that Caused Voyager 1 to Send Back Jumbled Data" - https://soylentnews.org/article.pl?sid=22/09/02/1222233
  7. "Record-Breaking Voyager Spacecraft Begin to Power Down" - https://soylentnews.org/article.pl?sid=22/07/21/1832229
  8. "Engineers Investigating NASA's Voyager 1 Telemetry Data" - https://soylentnews.org/article.pl?sid=22/05/22/2114209
  9. "NASA Calls Voyager 2, and the Spacecraft Answers from Interstellar Space" - https://soylentnews.org/article.pl?sid=20/11/04/001222
  10. "Voyager Spacecraft Detect an Increase in the Density of Space Outside the Solar System" - https://soylentnews.org/article.pl?sid=20/10/21/1817224
  11. "Five NASA Spacecraft That are Leaving Our Solar System for Good" - https://soylentnews.org/article.pl?sid=20/09/30/0218210
  12. "Revisiting Decades-Old Voyager 2 Data, Scientists Find One More Secret About Uranus" - https://soylentnews.org/article.pl?sid=20/03/27/0340228
  13. "Voyager 1's Pale Blue Dot" - https://soylentnews.org/article.pl?sid=20/02/15/0237211
  14. "Voyager 2 Returning to Normal Operation" - https://soylentnews.org/article.pl?sid=20/02/02/0154257
  15. "Future Stellar Flybys of the Voyager and Pioneer Spacecraft" - https://soylentnews.org/article.pl?sid=19/05/22/0759253
  16. "Voyager 2 Reaches Interstellar Space" - https://soylentnews.org/article.pl?sid=19/04/18/1222206
  17. "NASA Announces That Voyager 2 Has Exited the Heliosphere" - https://soylentnews.org/article.pl?sid=18/12/10/1731235
  18. "Voyager 1 Fires Up Trajectory Correction Maneuver Thrusters for the First Time in 37 Years" - https://soylentnews.org/article.pl?sid=17/12/04/0215246
  19. "NASA's Voyager Mission Turns 40" - https://soylentnews.org/article.pl?sid=17/08/20/181220
  20. "The Oldest Computer (Not) on Earth" - https://soylentnews.org/article.pl?sid=17/01/07/2040215
  21. "Voyager 1 Rides 'Tsunami Wave' in Interstellar Space" - https://soylentnews.org/article.pl?sid=14/12/18/034217
  22. "Reviewing Voyager Data Leads to New Discoveries" - https://soylentnews.org/article.pl?sid=14/11/14/133232
  23. "Original Submission" - https://soylentnews.org/submit.pl?op=viewsub&subid=62041

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