NASA successfully fires Voyager 1 thrusters after 37 years
#1
The Voyager space craft were launched from Kennedy Space Center on Cape Canaveral, Florida some 40 years ago (1977) and they are still sending information to the Jet Propulsion Labs in Pasadena, California to this day. It takes over 19 hours for the data to get to earth from the probes that are outside the Heliosphere of our sun, or at least, Voyager 1 is, officially.

Here's a couple on neat articles on them:


Quote:http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/NASA_s...s_999.html

[Image: space-travel-100-12.jpg]
NASA successfully fires Voyager 1 thrusters after 37 years
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Dec 2, 2017


[Image: voyager-spix-lg.jpg]

NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft -- cruising interstellar space billions of miles from Earth -- was back on the right track Friday thanks to thrusters that were fired up for the first time in 37 years.
The unmanned spaceship was launched along with its twin, Voyager 2, more than 40 years ago to explore the outer planets of our solar system, traveling further than any human-made object in history.
But after decades of operation, the "attitude control thrusters" that turn the spacecraft by firing tiny "puffs" had degraded. The small adjustments are needed to turn Voyager's antenna toward Earth, allowing it to continue sending communications.
"At 13 billion miles from Earth, there's no mechanic shop nearby to get a tune-up," NASA said in a news release.
Experts at the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California decided to turn to four backup thrusters that were last used on November 8, 1980.
"The Voyager flight team dug up decades-old data and examined the software that was coded in an outdated assembler language, to make sure we could safely test the thrusters," said Chris Jones, chief engineer at JPL.
The engineers fired up the thrusters on Tuesday and tested their ability to turn Voyager using 10-millisecond pulses. Then they waited 19 hours, 35 minutes for the test results to arrive at an antenna in Goldstone, California.
Turns out the thrusters worked just fine.
"The Voyager team got more excited each time with each milestone in the thruster test. The mood was one of relief, joy and incredulity after witnessing these well-rested thrusters pick up the baton as if no time had passed at all," said Todd Barber, a JPL propulsion engineer.
Being able to use the backup thrusters means the lifespan of Voyager 1 has been extended by two or three years, added Suzanne Dodd, project manager for Voyager.
NASA plans to switch over to the formerly dormant thrusters in January. They will likely also conduct similar tests on the backup thrusters on Voyager 2.
Scientists still hear from the Voyager spacecraft daily, and expect to get data for about another decade.
Astronomy textbooks were rewritten on a wide scale thanks to the Voyager spacecraft, which zoomed past Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune and Uranus.
The plutonium-powered spaceships will continue until they finally run out of fuel, and will then orbit in the center of the Milky Way galaxy.



Quote:http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Voyage...s_999.html

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Voyager Spacecraft: 40 Years of Solar System Discoveries
by Staff Writers
Boulder CO (SPX) Sep 04, 2017


[Image: voyager-spacecraft-and-its-golden-records-lg.jpg]
Rendering of the Voyager spacecraft and its Golden Records.
In 1977, two NASA space probes destined to forever upend our view of the solar system launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
The identical spacecraft, Voyager 1 and Voyager 2, took off in August and September 40 years ago and were programmed to pass by Jupiter and Saturn on different paths. Voyager 2 went on to visit Uranus and Neptune, completing NASA's "Grand Tour of the Solar System," perhaps the most exhilarating interplanetary mission ever flown.
University of Colorado Boulder scientists, who designed and built identical instruments for Voyager 1 and Voyager 2, were as stunned as anyone when the spacecraft began sending back data to Earth.
The discoveries dazzled scientists and the public: Twenty-three new planetary moons at Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune; active volcanoes on Jupiter's moon Io; Jupiter's ring system; organic smog shrouding Saturn's moon Titan; the braided, intertwined structure of Saturn's rings; the solar system's fastest winds (on Neptune, about 1,200 mph); and nitrogen geysers spewing from Neptune's moon Triton.
"This was a really big deal," said Professor Fran Bagenal of CU Boulder's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP), a mission scientist who began working with Voyager data as a doctoral student at MIT. "The outer solar system went from being fuzzy planets with dots for moons to a whole set of new and amazing worlds."
Forty years later, the two spacecraft are still traveling - about a million miles per day. Although both are still in contact with scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, which is managing the mission for NASA, Voyager 1 is roughly 13 billion miles away and has punched its way into interstellar space. Voyager 2 is not far behind, but on a different trajectory that will soon take it out of the cosmic neighborhood.
The LASP photopolarimeter subsystem, a telescope that measured the intensity and polarization of light at different wavelengths, helped scientists distinguish between rock, dust, frost, ice and meteor material. It also observed the structure of Jupiter's Great Red Spot and the properties of the clouds and atmospheres of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, and Saturn's largest moon, Titan.
"Voyager was nothing less than spectacular," says LASP Professor Larry Esposito, whose team also used the photopolarimeter to watch stars dip behind the rings of Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. "We were able to compare the rings of all the giant planets, looking at the structure and dynamic behavior."
One of the intriguing discoveries involving the Voyager science team was the intricate structure of Saturn's F ring - a ring Esposito discovered in 1979 using data from NASA's Pioneer 11 mission. Scientists determined the faint F ring was made up of three separate ringlets that appeared to be braided together, and that the inner and outer limits of the ring were controlled by two small moons called "shepherd satellites," said Esposito, who chaired the Voyager Rings Science Working Group from 1984 to 1989.
Charlie Hord, a former planetary scientist at LASP, remembers the heyday of Voyager. Hord, principal investigator for a time on the Voyager spacecraft LASP instruments, shook his head in wonder as he recalled some of the discoveries.
"All of the scientists were dazzled by the pictures of the moons of Jupiter and Saturn coming back," said Hord, 79, who still lives in Boulder. "To finally look at them up close was the most remarkable thing I've ever seen in my life."
On the off chance either spacecraft encounters a another civilization, each is carrying what are known as the "Golden Records" - gold-plated copper phonograph records with greetings in 54 languages; the sounds of surf, wind, thunder, birds and whales; analog photos of people and places on Earth; diagrams of DNA; and snippets of music ranging from Bach and Beethoven to Chuck Berry.
The spacecraft carries a stylus set up in the correct position so that aliens could immediately play the record, named "Murmurs from Earth" by the late Carl Sagan, who conceived the Golden Record effort.
One should have an open mind; open enough that things get in, but not so open that everything falls out
 
A democracy which makes or even effectively prepares for modern, scientific war must necessarily cease to be democratic. No country can be really well prepared for modern war unless it is governed by a tyrant, at the head of a highly trained and perfectly obedient bureaucracy
Huxley
 
The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything  
Einstein
 
Its no wonder truth is stranger than fiction.
Fiction has to make sense
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#2
Neat! As one who was born in 11 BSA (before the space age), I've always followed this sort of thing. Thanks for sharing.
Jovan-Marya of the Immaculate Conception Weismiller, T.O.Carm.

Vive le Christ-roi! Vive le roi, Louis XX!
Deum timete, regem honorificate.
Kansan by birth! Albertan by choice! Jayhawk by the Grace of God!
  “Qui me amat, amet et canem meum. (Who loves me will love my dog also.)” 
St Bernard of Clairvaux

My Blog 'Musings of an Old Curmudgeon'


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#3
I was living in Orlando when these probes were launched. You could easily see them going up and hear the rocket roar from Orlando, some 50 miles west of the Cape. Really cool place to visit too. I was actually in the observation bunker where the watched they Mercury launches from. Can't do that now, Space X has taken over that area.
One should have an open mind; open enough that things get in, but not so open that everything falls out
 
A democracy which makes or even effectively prepares for modern, scientific war must necessarily cease to be democratic. No country can be really well prepared for modern war unless it is governed by a tyrant, at the head of a highly trained and perfectly obedient bureaucracy
Huxley
 
The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything  
Einstein
 
Its no wonder truth is stranger than fiction.
Fiction has to make sense
Mark Twain
Reply
#4
I remember the beginning of the 'space age'. I was ten years old and already an avid reader of science fiction.When the Russkis launched Sputnik 1, I was amazed. I and my friends talked of little else for days.
Jovan-Marya of the Immaculate Conception Weismiller, T.O.Carm.

Vive le Christ-roi! Vive le roi, Louis XX!
Deum timete, regem honorificate.
Kansan by birth! Albertan by choice! Jayhawk by the Grace of God!
  “Qui me amat, amet et canem meum. (Who loves me will love my dog also.)” 
St Bernard of Clairvaux

My Blog 'Musings of an Old Curmudgeon'


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#5
Just saw this...more about Voyager probes:



Quote:http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/The_Vo...e_999.html

[Image: space-travel-100-12.jpg]
The Voyagers in Popular Culture
by Elizabeth Landau for JPL News
Pasadena CA (JPL) Dec 05, 2017


[Image: voyager-spacecraft-and-its-golden-records-lg.jpg]
The Voyager spacecraft were built by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, which continues to operate both.
Whether you're traveling across cities, continents or even oceans this holiday season, there is no long-haul flight quite like that of the Voyagers.
This year, we celebrated 40 years since the launch of NASA's twin Voyager probes - the two farthest, fastest spacecraft currently in operation. Each Voyager has contributed an enormous amount of knowledge about the solar system, including the unexpected diversity of its planets and their moons. Among their many distinctions, Voyager 1 is the only spacecraft to enter interstellar space, and Voyager 2 is the only spacecraft to fly by all four giant planets: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.
You might have missed the virtual Voyager party, though, since there was a lot of other space news around the time of the Voyager launch anniversaries. The solar eclipse, visible across America, took place on Aug. 21, just one day after Voyager 2 marked 40 years in flight. Sept. 5 was Voyager 1's launch anniversary, but space fans were already gearing up to commemorate the finale of NASA's Cassini mission on Sept. 15.
Don't worry - it's never too late to appreciate the far-reaching influence the Voyagers have had. In fact, in addition to the news coverage the spacecraft have received, the spacecraft have also earned a place in popular culture.
So, since you might have some downtime as we head into the holidays, here are some Voyager-related movies, TV shows and songs. (Warning: a few spoilers ahead!)
Voyagers in Film and Television
Perhaps the most widely recognized pop culture Voyager homage is in the film "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" from 1979. In the film, a machine called V'Ger - the fictional Voyager 6 spacecraft, its intelligence greatly enhanced by an alien race - seeks the home of its creator, Earth, and threatens to wreak havoc on our planet in the process.
In real life, John Casani, who was the Voyager project manager at that time at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, offered to loan a Voyager model to "Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry. Although the movie version altered the original design, it still used the mission as an inspiration.
The spacecraft had long passed the planets when a 2004 episode of "The West Wing" - titled "The Warfare of Genghis Khan" - mentioned a major mission milestone: Voyager 1 crossing the termination shock. The termination shock is a shockwave that marks the point at which the solar wind from the Sun, which travels at supersonic speeds up to that point, abruptly slows down and heats up.
It represents the innermost part of the boundary of the heliosphere, the magnetic bubble that includes the Sun, planets and solar wind. Due to the termination shock crossing, the character Josh Lyman (mistakenly) declares this Voyager 1 to be the first man-made object to leave our solar system (mistakenly, because the solar system ends well beyond that landmark). "Funny, I'm going through a little termination shock myself," quips the character Donna Moss.
More recently, Voyager 1 did, in real life, cross into interstellar space in 2012, although technically it has still not left the solar system. In 2013, to talk about that milestone, the mission's project scientist, Ed Stone of Caltech in Pasadena, appeared on Comedy Central's Colbert Report.
The Golden Record
Each Voyager contains a copy of a Golden Record filled with Earth's sights and sounds, including images, music and audio clips of people and animals. This record has been featured in several works of science fiction. In the 1984 film "Starman," a race of aliens discovers the record and sends an emissary to Earth to learn more about our planet.
A 1994 episode of the X-Files titled "Little Green Men" also paid homage to Voyager. The episode opens with FBI agent Fox Mulder describing the Voyager mission and the Golden Record, including images, music and a child's voice saying, "Hello from the children of planet Earth." Mulder says the Voyagers passed the orbit of Neptune and "there were no further messages sent," but in reality, the Voyagers still communicate with Earth every day.
The mission wasn't exempt from fun on "Saturday Night Live." In episode 64, which aired in 1978, a psychic played by actor Steve Martin says the extraterrestrials had found the record and replied, "Send More Chuck Berry" - referring to the iconic song "Johnny B. Goode" included on the Golden Record. Learn more about the Golden Record and see a full list of its contents here.
And More
Voyager has proved inspirational to contemporary musicians and songwriters as well. The Academy Award-winning composer Dario Marianelli wrote a Voyager violin concerto that had its world premiere in 2014 in Brisbane, Australia, and was subsequently played by the London Symphony Orchestra in 2015. Artist James Stretton also wrote a song in honor of the Voyagers' 40th anniversary.
For a deep dive into the history of the mission, the documentary "The Farthest" premiered on PBS in August, featuring numerous interviews with Voyager scientists and engineers, past and present.
And if you get tired of looking at your own vacation photos, there are lots to explore on the Voyager website. Live long and prosper, Voyagers!
One should have an open mind; open enough that things get in, but not so open that everything falls out
 
A democracy which makes or even effectively prepares for modern, scientific war must necessarily cease to be democratic. No country can be really well prepared for modern war unless it is governed by a tyrant, at the head of a highly trained and perfectly obedient bureaucracy
Huxley
 
The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything  
Einstein
 
Its no wonder truth is stranger than fiction.
Fiction has to make sense
Mark Twain
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