Pioneer 10 Mission Status
29 Apr 2001
(Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory)
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 this status report.
Larry Lasher, Pioneer Project Manager