The Space Probe- Voyager 1 and Voyager 2; The Voyager Program.

Nov. 19, 2017, 4:59 a.m. By: Kirti

Voyager 1 and Voyager 2

The Voyager program that is involved with the employment of two twin robotic probes, namely Voyager 1 and Voyager 2, to study the outer Solar System, is a continuing American scientific program that was basically launched in the year 1977 in order to take advantage of a favorable alignment of the planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, and are now continuing the exploration of the outer boundary of the heliosphere in the interstellar space adding on to their journey of more than 39 years and hence are exploring where nothing from Earth has flown before. The twin spacecraft both Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 were respectively launched by NASA in separate months in the summer of 1977 from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Although the original or primary mission of the program was to basically study only the planetary systems of Jupiter and Saturn, Voyager 2, its descendant, continued the journey further on to the planets Uranus and Neptune after a string of discoveries that were made such as active volcanoes on Jupiter's moon Io and intricacies of Saturn's rings, the mission was extended, and now both Voyagers are tasked with the exploration of the interstellar space. The mission of these two have been extended three times till date, and both probes continue to collect and relay useful scientific data. Other than the Voyager 2, neither Uranus nor Neptune has been visited by any probe till today.

"On 25 August 2012, data from Voyager 1 indicated that it had become the first human-made object to enter interstellar space, traveling "further than anyone, or anything, in history". As of 2013, Voyager 1 was moving at a velocity of 17 kilometers per second (11 mi/s) relative to the Sun." according to the information provided on Wikipedia.

The telemetry of these Voyager operates at these below-stated transmission rates:

  • 40 bit/s real-time engineering data, no science data.7200

  • 1400 bit/s tape recorder playbacks

  • 160 bit/s real-time fields, particles, and waves; UVS subset

  • 600 bit/s real-time fields, particles, and waves; full UVS

Now, further looking at each of the twins singularly:

VOYAGER 1 Spacecraft:


The spacecraft with the Launch Date of 5 September 1977, launched from Kennedy Space Center came with a Mission to Explore Jupiter, Saturn, and their satellites respectively. The one among the twins Arrived at Jupiter on March in the year 197 and Arrived at Saturn in November in the year 1980 respectively.

Voyager 1 was the first of twin spacecraft that were launched to reach Jupiter and was set out to collect information also roughly taking 32,000 pictures of Jupiter, Saturn, and their moons and gathering all it could about the rings on the atmospheres, interiors, satellites and magnetospheres of Jupiter and Saturn. Soon after the completion of the mission, until its cameras were turned back on in early 1990 to take pictures of the solar system, Voyager 1 continued to remain rather quiet. "Voyager 1 took some 60 pictures of the Sun and 6 of the planets, the first shots ever taken from "outside" our Solar System. The 60 frames were combined to make the mosaic seen below. The six individual shots on the right were taken when Voyager 1 was more than 4 billion miles from Earth. Earth appears framed in brightness due to the amount of light scattered while taking the picture with Earth so close to the Sun." according to the official information provided.

VOYAGER 2 Spacecraft:


The spacecraft that was Launched on 20 August in the year 1977 came with a mission to Explore all of the outer planets and their satellites. The spacecraft:

  • Arrived at Jupiter on July 1979

  • Arrived at Saturn on August 1981

  • Arrived at Uranus on January 1986

  • Arrived at Neptune on August 1989

Voyager 2 actually left Earth before Voyager 1, Even though the second in the list, spacecraft arrived at Jupiter 4 months later. The objectives of Voyager 2 were the same as Voyager 1, and they both ended up collecting about the same number of photographs of both the Jupiter and Saturn. Soon, a few years later, in August 1989, Voyager 2 also arrived at Neptune and collected around 10,000 images of the same. The permission was granted to extend its mission to Uranus, Neptune and beyond despite all the initial complications that were led by Voyager 2.

When we go on to continue discussing the results of the Voyager missions that they led to:

  • Discovery of 22 new satellites: 3 at Jupiter, 3 at Saturn, 10 at Uranus, 6 at Neptune

  • Discovery of Jupiter's rings, and additional information about the rings of Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune

  • Discovery of Uranian and Neptunian magnetospheres

  • Discovery of active volcanism on Io, and active geyser-like structures on Triton

  • Discovery of auroral zones on Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune.

A Brief History of Voyager 1 and Voyager 2

Video Source: Muon Ray & Image Source: NASA