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Monday, January 1, 2018

Voyager-1 Space Probe

Voyager-1 Probe leaving our solar system

     Voyager-1 is the amazing spacecraft of science and technology that was made to study outer solar system. It was launched in 1977 as a part of National Aeronautics Space Administration's Voyager Program. (This program included two sister spacecrafts voyager-1 and voyager-2). First the voyager-2 was launched and voyager-1 was launched after 16 days of voyager-2, the spacecraft is the first man made object to enter into the outer solar system. It had spent more than 40 years in travelling towards the deep space. During its earlier mission, it visited Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto. It is still active and currently moving far away from the sun and our solar system.

Mission Proposal:

     In 1960, scientists and explorers proposed a "Grand Tour" to study the outer solar system and outer planets, this proposal made NASA to design the sister spacecrafts by using the data collected from Pioneer-10, and finally the construction was made by Jet Propulsion Laboratory which is a part of California Institute of Technology.

Start of Mission:

    The voyager-1 space probe  was launched from cape-canaveral air force station on 5th september 1977 and it was carried by Titan rocket. Similarly, the voyager-2 was launched two weeks earlier to voyager-1 launch. Both the spacecraft reached the planet Jupiter and Saturn very soon after a short trajectory system.

Scientific Instruments:

  • Imaging Science System
  • Radio Science System
  • Infrared Spectrometer
  • Infrared Interferometer
  • Ultraviolet Spectrometer
  • Magnetometer
  • Plasma Spectrometer
  • Low Energy Charged Particle Instrument
  • Cosmic Ray System
  • Planetary Radio Astronomy Investigation
  • Photo-polarimeter System
  • Plasma Wave System
* Out of these 11 instruments, only 4 instruments were active in functioning.

Scientific & Technical Details:

     Voyager-1 had hydrazine thrusters to control and adjust the maneuver and attitude control system based on a three-axis gyroscope.  Communications to earth was contributed by high-gain antenna to receive radio waves of frequency ranging from 2.3 to 8.4 GHz. However, it is very difficult to generate power from solar panels at such a far distance, so the voyager used radioisotope thermoelectric generators to produce power from plutonium-238 oxides. The computers used in this spacecraft was similar to the onboard computers  of viking orbiters.

Golden Record:
Golden Record Disc carried by Voyager Space Probes

    Voyager-1 and voyager-2, both carried a golden disc which consists of musical sounds, music collections, speeches, sounds of animals, birds, humans, sea shore noises, all the music collections and 55 different languages. This is to know and indicate the existence of life forms on earth to other life beyond earth. It also had photographs of earth, life forms and many scientific information.


     Now the spacecraft were moving at a speed of 119km/s and it will visit the Oort cloud as planned in 300 years and then it will enter the nearest star after 40,000 years. It will take nearly 30,000 years to cross the Oort cloud. The mission life is expected upto 2025, because the plutonium-238 oxides will no longer able to supply power to the instruments. It is latest active response was received in November 2017, the firing of thrusters. In future, scientists were able to make longer spacecraft to enter into deep space. 

More Information:


Image credit : NASA

Tags: Voyager-1 | Deep Space Probes | Space Missions


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