A set of thrusters aboard the Voyager 1 spacecraft successfully fired up Wednesday after 37 years without use. It is a major success for the NASA as the Voyage 1 was has not been started for decades, and NASA was not sure that whether the thrusters will start or not. However, all the tension has gone, and NASA successfully fired up the thrusters successfully after a long time.
“With these thrusters that are still functional after 37 years without use, we will be able to extend the life of the Voyager 1 spacecraft by two to three years,” stated Suzanne Dodd, project manager for Voyager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California.
The Only human-made object and NASA’s farthest and fastest spacecraft is Voyage 1, and it has been there in the space for 40 years. Now the Voyage team has now successfully activated a set of four backup thrusters sleeping since 1980.
In 2014 engineers noticed that the thrusters Voyager 1 has been using to orient the spacecraft have been degrading. The thrusters needed more power to give off the same amount of energy. As Voyage 1 was at 13 billion miles from Earth, it was not easy to go there and fix the problem.
The chief engineer at JPL, Jones stated that “the Voyager flight team dug up decades-old data and examined the software that was coded in an outdated assembler language, to make sure we could safely test the thrusters.”
Then the Voyager team assembled a group of experts at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, to examine the issue. Chris Jones, Robert Shotwell, Carl Guernsey and Todd Barber examined different option, and at the end, they came to the conclusion that, to assign the orientation job to the thrusters which had been resting for 37 years. Voyager 2 is also on course to enter interstellar space within some years.