Lastweek, ground controllers sent out commands to fire back-up thrusters on Voyager 1, the most far-off spacecraft.
Thethrusters had actually been idle for 37 years, given that Voyager 1 flew past Saturn.
ToNasa’s pleasure, the 4 inactive thrusters came alive.
Ittook more than 19 hours, the one-way travel time for signals, for controllers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, to obtain the bright side.
Engineerswished to see if these alternate thrusters might point Voyager 1’s antenna towards Earth, a task generally dealt with by a various set that is now deteriorating.
Thethrusters will take control of pointing operations next month.
Theswitch might extend Voyager 1’s life by 2 to 3 years.
Launchedin 1977, Voyager 1 is the only spacecraft taking a trip through interstellar area, the area beyond our planetary system.
Voyager2 is close on its heels, almost 11 billion miles from Earth.
Thethruster test worked so well that Nasa anticipates to attempt it on Voyager 2.
Thatwill not occur anytime quickly, however, since Voyager 2’s initial thrusters are still working fine.
TheVoyager flight group collected old records and studied the initial software application prior to dealing with the test.
Aseach turning point in the test was attained, the enjoyment level grew, stated propulsion engineer Todd Barber.
“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,”he stated in a declaration.
Thetwin Voyagers supplied spectacular close-up views of Jupiter and Saturn.
Voyager2 likewise provided shots of Uranus and Neptune.
Nasa reboots thrusters on spacecraft beyond planetary system after 37 years by: Elie Abi Younes published: