(Launched 2 March 1972)
Distance from Sun (1 October 2000): 76.18 AU
Speed relative to the Sun: 12.24 km/sec (27,380 mph)
Distance from Earth: 11.34 billion kilometers (7.047 billion miles) Round-trip Light Time: 21 hours 00 minutes
The latest Pioneer activity was on September 10, when DSS 63
tracked the spacecraft. The station was not able to acquire the downlink. However, there was a report of two momentary receiver glitches at the Pioneer 10 frequency. This report was encouraging, since it means that the spacecraft signal is there, but it is
still off Earth point. The Earth look angle (ELA) is estimated
to be over 1.4 degrees. The downlink signal strength drops off
rapidly after 1.0 degree.
Earth is just starting to go back towards the PN 10 spin axis.
As the year continues, Earth will be closer in alignment with
the spacecraft pointing and the tracking stations should be able to regain lock. We anticipate this to be about the middle of
Our latest calculation of the ephemeris yield:
Right Ascension = 76.27 degrees
Declination = 25.91 degrees
Since Pioneer 10 is over 75 AU distant and its telemetry signal is virtually at the limit of overall communication system's link margin, the spacecraft was chosen as a convenient test vehicle for the new methodology of Chaos theory.
Chaotic.com has been testing the applicability of new methods in semi-blind signal estimation and noise reduction using Pioneer 10 signals.
Larry Lasher, Pioneer Project Manager