Voyager 1

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The Voyager 1 spacecraft is a 722-kilogram (1,592 lb) robotic space probe launched by NASA on September 5, 1977 to study the outer Solar System and eventually interstellar space. Operating for 33 years, 3 months, and 28 days, the spacecraft receives routine commands and transmits data back to the Deep Space Network. Currently in extended mission, the spacecraft is tasked with locating and studying the boundaries of the Solar System, including the Kuiper belt, the heliosphere and interstellar space. The primary mission ended November 20th, 1980 after encountering the Jovian system in 1979 and the Saturnian system in 1980.[1] It was the first probe to provide detailed images of the two largest planets and their moons.

Contents

Mission background

History

Conceived in the 1960s, a Grand Tour proposal to study the outer planets, prompted NASA to begin work on a mission in the early 1970s. The development of the interplanetary probes coincided with an alignment of the planets, making possible a mission to the outer Solar System by taking advantage of, the then-new technique, gravity assist.

Utilizing gravity assists would enable a single probe to visit the four gas giants (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune) while requiring a minimal amount of propellant and a shorter transit duration between planets. Originally, Voyager 1 was planned as Mariner 11 of the Mariner program however, due to congressional budget cuts, the mission was scaled back to be a flyby of Jupiter and Saturn, and renamed the Mariner Jupiter-Saturn probes. As the program progressed, the name was later changed to Voyager as the probe designs began to differ greatly from previous Mariner missions.[2]

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