For the first time in 37 years, NASA has used the Thrusters for Maneuvers of Correction of Trajectory (TCM, for its acronym in English) of the Voyager 1, with the aim of re-orienting the probe so that its antenna pointed directly to the Earth, said the space agency in a press release that echoes Eph.
The NASA compared in a press release this maneuver, which was conducted last Wednesday, with “start a car that has been in the garage for decades”, so that, according to recognized, it was not known if the thrusters would respond.
These thrusters work by throwing small flames of fire, which last only a few milliseconds and make it possible to vary the orientation of the probe. In the beginning, the technicians should have used the thrusters to Control the Position of the ship, but due to the passage of time, these have suffered a significant deterioration, so that they would have incurred in a higher consumption of oxygen that has finally been unnecessary thanks to the TCN.
40 years in space
The project Voyager is one of the most durable of the space race, since it was launched on 20 August 1977, with the launch of the probe Voyager 2 from the base of Cape Canaveral, although not considered fully operational until the launch of the Voyager 1, which took place sixteen days after.
The main objective of the mission was to explore Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, a task that is expected should be delayed about four years.
However, it is precisely their thrusters powered by nuclear power sources, as well as the fact that the majority of their operating systems are duplicated, have allowed the ships to continue their journey for forty years.
The fact that it has been proven that the Voyager 1 can be counted with this system of thrusters, which had not been used since 1980, invites us to think that the mission could continue to serve the needs of NASA for some more time: “With these thrusters still functional, after 37 years without having been used, we will be able to extend the life of the probe Voyager 1 between two and three years more, “said the current program manager, Suzanne Dodd.