SETI bioastro: We had a Pioneer 10 track Saturday, April 28, 2001 and Pioneer 10 is alive!

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From: Larry Klaes (
Date: Mon Apr 30 2001 - 10:33:28 PDT

We had a Pioneer 10 track Saturday, April 28, 2001 and Pioneer 10 is alive!

We received telemetry here at Ames Research Center sent to us from
Madrid Spain, the NASA Deep Space Network station 63. Station 63,
transmitted a 200 kw uplink signal on Friday (I reported 300 kw last
week but they reduced it to 200 kw) and then Madrid listened for
telemetry that would be sent down from Pioneer 10 using the variable
frequency oscillator that comes on when Pioneer 10 hears an uplink
signal. The modulated down link signal would be sent at a known
offset frequency and Station 63 would search for our 8 watt signal
around that expected frequency.

It worked, and we had telemetry until the time Pioneer 10 quit seeing
the uplink signal, a one way light time earlier. Following that we
did not see any telemetry from what should have been sent using the
fixed frequency oscillator. It may be that the fixed frequency
oscillator has quit or has shifted too far away from what it was
supposed to be set at and the DSN just can't find it.
(The spacecraft is much colder than what was designed for as all of
the instruments are off except for Dr. Van Allen's Geiger Tube

We have two more round trip light time tracks scheduled in May and
then Madrid will not be able to send uplinks at 200 kw because it
would interfere with the use of that frequency by others. (we were
not expected to still be on the air and the frequencies have been
reassigned for use by others)

We did some screen shots of my LabVIEW telemetry program but they are
in pict format and I will have to get them converted to jpegs before
we post them on the web. ( had hoped to put them up on the home site or the spaceprojects site.
Will see what we can do. )

Dr. Lawrence Lasher has updated the status report on Space Projects
Pioneer web site.
but you may have trouble logging on as it seems to be getting a lot
of hits and is only a Macintosh server.

Here are two reports sent me by you folks who are listening and looking up.

Larry Kellogg

From: <>Larry Klaes
Sent: Monday, April 30, 2001 9:02 AM
Subject: Pioneer 10 lives on!


Pioneer 10 lives on.

<>Larry Lasher
Sunday, April 29, 2001

    Pioneer 10:

Distance from Sun : 77.67 AU
Speed relative to the Sun: 12.24 km/sec (27,380 mph)
Distance from Earth: 11.74 billion kilometers (7.29 billion miles)
Round-trip Light Time: 21 hours 45 minutes

Good News!! Pioneer 10 lives on.

At GMT 17:27:30, Saturday, 4/28/01, the signal from Pioneer 10 was
received at station 63 in Madrid, the first time since August 19 of
last year. As Samuel Clemens (AKA Mark Twain) once reported to the
newspaper - "The report of my death was an exaggeration" could be
applied to the premature reports of the demise of Pioneer 10.

Once again - muchas gracias - to the DSS 63 crew for their continuing
excellent support.

So it appears that Pioneer 10 has life, albeit in another mode - only
in a two-way coherent mode. Our Chief Flight Controller Ric Campo
says, "In order [for Pioneer 10] to talk to us, we need to talk to
it." This means from now on, we need two-way round-trip light time
(RTLT) passes to allow the Deep Space Network (DSN) to send up a
strong stable signal to lock up with a coherent downlink signal.

We will have to schedule tracks on the busy DSN schedule to allow
uplink and downlink support (competition for time includes Galileo,
Cassini and Ulysses). This will greatly limit the monthly tracking
available for Pioneer 10. More information to follow.

Stay tuned to
status report.

Larry Lasher, Pioneer Project Manager
From: "Clements, Robert"
Subject: RE: NASA hears from Pioneer 10 spacecraft after eight-month silen
ce - Ananova Alerting
Date: Mon, 30 Apr 2001 15:23:14 +1000

Is this report true? If so, you have my congratulations....

All the best,
Robert Clements <>

endeavour2 project <>

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Ananova
  Sent: Monday, April 30, 2001 3:00 PM
> To: Clements, Robert
> Subject: NASA hears from Pioneer 10 spacecraft after eight-month

> NASA scientists have contacted the Pioneer 10 spacecraft, ending fears
> that the robotic probe had gone silent 29 years into a mission.
> Since being launched on March 2, 1972, it has travelled more than 7
> billion miles from Earth.
> A radio antenna outside Madrid received a signal on Saturday, marking the
> first time it has been heard from since August 19.
> Pioneer 10 was the first spacecraft to pass through the asteroid belt and
> the first to obtain close-up images of Jupiter.
> In 1983, it became the first manmade object to leave the solar system when
> it passed the orbit of distant Pluto.
> The spacecraft is currently 7.29 billion miles from Earth, traveling at
> 27,380 mph relative to the sun.
> At that distance, radio signals take 21 hours and 45 minutes to make the
> round trip between the Earth and the spacecraft.
> The Pioneer 10 mission came to a formal close in 1997, but the probe had
> remained in regular contact with Earth, returning scientific data before
> going silent in August.
> Even in silence, the spacecraft will continue its steady voyage toward the
> constellation Taurus. It should pass one of the stars in the constellation
> more than 2 million years from now.
> The spacecraft carries a gold plaque engraved with a message of goodwill
> and a map showing the Earth's location within the solar system.

> See this story on the web at
> Space
> World
> Science and discovery
> src=more_on
> Technology
Tito got to the ISS okay.
Larry Kellogg
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Larry R. Kellogg

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