Monday, 11 December, 2017

Voyager 1 Gets Help from Thrusters Dormant for 37 Years

NASA fires Voyager 1 thrusters after decades-long sleep After 37 years, Voyager 1 has fired up its trajectory thrusters
Wallace Pearson | 04 December, 2017, 01:27

In order to keep the spacecraft running, its thrusters have to function properly, but engineers weren't sure if the small devices were going to work considering they hadn't been used since November 1980.

However, over the past three years, scientists at Nasa noticed that the main "attitude control thrusters" of the spacecraft, which reorient its antennas towards our planet and help with communication, had been wearing out with time.

"At 13 billion miles from Earth, there's no mechanic shop nearby to get a tune-up", NASA said in a news release.

The only human-made object in interstellar space - the environment between the stars - Voyager 1 has been flying for 40 years. This, as Nasa described, should "be able to extend the life of the Voyager 1 spacecraft by two to three years". Over the next few years it completed fly-bys of Jupiter, Saturn, and Titan-Saturn's largest moon. The JPL will also test out the TCM thrusters on Voyager 1's twin, Voyager 2, although NASA says that that spacecraft's attitude control thrusters are in better shape.

And even after Voyager 1 dies - or if we lose contact with it - the spacecraft is ready to achieve great things. Back then, the TCM thrusters were utilized in a more constant firing mode; they had never been used in the brief explosions necessary to orient the spacecraft.

They commanded the spacecraft to fire a set of four trajectory thrusters for the first time in 37 years to determine their ability to orient the spacecraft using 10-millisecond pulses. The four Aerojet Rocketdyne MR-103 trajectory correction maneuver (TCM) engines were last fired in 1980 when the spacecraft was passing Saturn.

Humanity's most distant spacecraft surprised its operators by answering the call to fire up rockets that have not been used in nearly 40 years.

This week, the scientists and engineers on the Voyager team did something very special. "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", said Barber, a JPL propulsion engineer.

The MR-103 thrusters, provided by Aerojet Rocketdyne, are created to fire in pulses to rotate the spacecraft and keep its 12-foot (3.7-metre) antenna pointed at Earth, but engineers have noticed more firings were needed recently, indicating the jets were losing some of their performance. They will do so by switching over to backup TCM thrusters in early January of next year. Voyager 1 was already operating on its backup branch of attitude control thrusters.

The thruster test went so well; the team will likely do a similar analysis on the TCM thrusters for Voyager 2, the counterpart spacecraft of Voyager 1.

Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 were launched 16 days apart in 1977.

Recommended

  • 'Grave provocation': North Korea condemns air-war games

    'Grave provocation': North Korea condemns air-war games

    The North says the Hwasong-15 missile can be tipped with a "super-large heavy warhead" capable of striking the whole USA mainland. Graham expressed confidence in the Trump administration's ability to manage the growing conflict with North Korea.
    Nigeria draw Argentina again

    Nigeria draw Argentina again

    Their spirited display lifted by their vocal travelling fans gave a new meaning to worldwide football. But our aim has to be to top the group", he said. "This will be an experience but really hard ".
    Postseason Ban & Scholarship Reductions Expanded For Ole Miss Football By NCAA

    Postseason Ban & Scholarship Reductions Expanded For Ole Miss Football By NCAA

    Freeze resigned over off-field issues - including allegations that he repeatedly made phone calls to escort services - in July. Most debilitating in that regard is an additional bowl-ban season and the loss of 13 scholarships over the next three years.
  • GDP growth a temporary pause, says Congress

    GDP growth a temporary pause, says Congress

    He further said that the two structural reforms - GST and demonetisation - will benefit the economy in the medium and long-term. Mining also posted a sharp uptick in growth to 5.5 per cent from a decline of 0.7 per cent in the previous quarter.
    Burqa-clad Taliban terrorists attack college in Pakistan, at least five wounded

    Burqa-clad Taliban terrorists attack college in Pakistan, at least five wounded

    The area where the incident occurred is a hub for educational institutions in the city including the University of Peshawar . According to Hayatabad Medical Complex Director Shahzad Akbar, six dead and 18 injured were brought to the hospital.
    Tiger tied for lead in Nassau

    Tiger tied for lead in Nassau

    Four hours of a solid round of golf lowered Woods' odds of winning the Masters from 66-1 to 33-1, according to Vegas Insider . So to see Tiger go out and play well doesn't surprise me.
  • De Gea 'best in world' as United beat Arsenal 3-1

    De Gea 'best in world' as United beat Arsenal 3-1

    Pogba was sent off for a studs-first tackle on Hector Bellerin in United's 3-1 win over Arsenal on Saturday. Arsenal got its goal from Alexandre Lacazette, and sits fifth with 28 points.
    All Blacks Sevens beaten by South Africa in Dubai final

    All Blacks Sevens beaten by South Africa in Dubai final

    With his most experienced side ever, head coach Neil Powell notched up his fifth tournament win of 2017 and continued South Africa's dominance on the global stage.
    Conor McGregor 'might never fight again' in the octagon

    Conor McGregor 'might never fight again' in the octagon

    UFC President Dana White has already confirmed that Ferguson would be McGregor's next opponent. Previously, White's said he would even entertain the idea of an ownership stake for McGregor.
  • Rickie Fowler shoots final-round 61 to win 2017 Hero World Challenge

    Rickie Fowler shoots final-round 61 to win 2017 Hero World Challenge

    Instead, Woods shot 40 on the front nine, didn't make a birdie until the 14th hole and wound up with a 75. Fowler began the day with seven consecutive birdies and shot 11-under 61 to win by four strokes.
    Yemen's Saleh says 'citizens have revolted against Houthi aggression'

    Yemen's Saleh says 'citizens have revolted against Houthi aggression'

    The country has since fallen into chaos and Mr Saleh later joined the Houthis to drive Mr Hadi out of the capital in 2014. He added: "We will deal with them in a positive way and what happened to Yemen is enough".
    Qualcomm sued by Apple over patent violation with Snapdragon processors

    Qualcomm sued by Apple over patent violation with Snapdragon processors

    In particular, Qualcomm points to the iPhone X's multitasking interface and its similarities to the interface webOS used to use. Qualcomm has now pulled out some old Palm patents in an attempt to get the ITC to ban Apple's fresh iPhone 8 and iPhone X .

Stability and strategy: Why is China so easy on North Korea? Stability and strategy: Why is China so easy on North Korea? Charter, which permits military action as a matter of self-defense only in response to an actual armed attack. Mr Trump has vowed to prevent North Korea from having that capability - using military force if necessary.

Alex Smith isn't the problem in Chiefs' latest loss Alex Smith isn't the problem in Chiefs' latest loss That's when Peters lost his cool, grabbing the flag thrown by side judge Keith Washington and tossing it into the stands. Less than two minutes later, Smith and Kelce hooked up again for a 36-yard score to build an early two-possession lead.

United Kingdom must produce 'credible' border plan to unlock Brexit talks - Irish PM United Kingdom  must produce 'credible' border plan to unlock Brexit talks - Irish PM The European Council President Donald Tusk is due to meet the Taoiseach in Dublin tomorrow ahead of what will be an extremely busy weekend.

Pep Guardiola Reveals What He Said In Angry Exchange With Nathan Redmond Pep Guardiola Reveals What He Said In Angry Exchange With Nathan Redmond Pep Guardiola regrets pushing Nathan Redmond and concedes he is incapable of controlling his emotions during and after matches. I didn't know him last season, I realised how good he is. "If they want to listen to me, I will do it.

Missing Florida teen found with soccer coach in Syracuse Missing Florida teen found with soccer coach in Syracuse Her former soccer coach Rian Rodriguez, 27, is now in jail on a charge of interference with a child's custody. The Columbia County Sheriff's Office said Caitlyn is being held by police, and her family has been notified.

Warrant: Mother's boyfriend 'secretly disposed' of Mariah Woods' body Warrant: Mother's boyfriend 'secretly disposed' of Mariah Woods' body He is charged with concealing of death, obstruction, second-degree burglary, felony larceny and possession of stolen property. Highway 17 or state Highway 53 in the area where the girl disappeared to call police and let them see the footage.

Israeli missile targets military base near Damascus Israeli missile targets military base near Damascus The "blatant assault" led to material losses at the site in the countryside around the capital, the Syrian state media reported. The incident reportedly occurred Friday night, with IDF planes attacking the Iranian base at al-Kiswah, south of Damascus.

Yankees will reportedly name Aaron Boone their new manager Yankees will reportedly name Aaron Boone their new manager Boone, who starred at Villa Park High before a 12-year career in the major leagues, has been an ESPN baseball analyst since 2010. That's a good thing, because Aaron Boone doesn't have any. "I understand what it is to be a Yankee", he said.

Look east! 2017 supermoon rises tonight Look east! 2017 supermoon rises tonight This will mean that the on the night of the December 3 the moon will be seven per cent larger and 16 per cent brighter than usual. If you want to celebrate the year's most super supermoon as a holiday for moongazers, I don't see anything wrong with that.

World's Biggest Battery Delivering Power in South Australia World's Biggest Battery Delivering Power in South Australia The idea was that the battery would have the capacity to power over 30,000 homes in the event of severe blackout for at least an hour.

Jimbo Fisher Joins Texas A&M On Record-Breaking $75M Contract Jimbo Fisher Joins Texas A&M On Record-Breaking $75M Contract ESPN reports that the 52-year-old wanted to wait to announce his decision until after Saturday's game. Fisher has overseen the Noles' football program since Bobby Bowden retired prior to the 2010 season.

Currie out as UT AD Currie out as UT AD Currie flew back earlier Friday to Knoxville after interviewing Washington State coach Mike Leach on Thursday in Los Angeles. Butch Jones was sacked as coach after a blowout loss to Missouri; Tennessee finished its season 4-8 (0-8 in SEC play).

EAM Sushma Swaraj arrives in Sochi, Russia to participate in SCO meeting EAM Sushma Swaraj arrives in Sochi, Russia to participate in SCO meeting China and Russian Federation have fat-tracked their cooperation and alliance in recent years. The summit is going to be attended by leaders from Pakistan and China.

Army vet says Franken groped her in 2003 Army vet says Franken groped her in 2003 After the interview, the woman tells us, "I reached out my hand to shake his". Franken's office released the same statement it provided CNN late Wednesday.

All Prince George Wants For Christmas Is A Police Car, Dad Says All Prince George Wants For Christmas Is A Police Car, Dad Says Prince William had reacted to brother Prince Harry 's engagement to Meghan Markle after arriving in Finland on Wednesday. Kate is pregnant with the couple's third child. "We're very excited, delighted for them both", said William.