NASA successfully repaired the spacecraft from a distance of 24 billion km

About 7 months after the Voyager I spacecraft malfunctioned, NASA said they had successfully repaired the spacecraft’s data transmission system and received usable signals from four scientific instruments.

NASA’s Voyager 1 interstellar probe is transmitting meaningful data from all four science instruments, Live Science reported on June 17. This is the result after 7 months of searching and fixing errors by the NASA engineering team.

The spacecraft crashed in November 2023, starting to send meaningless signals due to a technical problem with one of the three computers on board. Engineers partially resolved the problem in April by transmitting instructions to Voyager 1’s flight data system (FDS), which is responsible for packaging science data before transmitting it to Earth. This directive prompted Voyager 1 to send back its first readable message in four months, allowing the engineering team to determine the source of the problem.

After determining the problem occurred in a computer chip, the engineering team found a solution to adjust the FDS code from tens of billions of kilometers away and began restoring the device’s operating state on Voyager. Two of the ship’s four scientific instruments continued to provide readings in May. Thanks to further adjustments, all four instruments are now operating normally. These instruments are responsible for collecting information about plasma waves, magnetic fields and particles in interstellar space.

While Voyager 1’s data systems are back online, the engineering team will need to work further to fully recover. For example, they will need to resynchronize the timing software, allowing all three computers on board to process instructions at the same time. The engineering team will also perform maintenance on digital tape recorders and data storage for plasma wave equipment.

Voyager 1 is flying through interstellar space more than 24 billion kilometers from Earth. Interstellar space is the area outside the heliosphere, a protective bubble created by the magnetic field and solar wind. The spacecraft flew so far away that engineers had to wait 22.5 hours for their instructions to reach the spacecraft and another 22.5 hours to receive a response. Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 have been traveling in space for nearly 47 years. They are NASA’s longest-running spacecraft and the furthest-flying man-made objects in existence.

By Editor

Leave a Reply