Skip to main content

TR Memescape

  • we'll just have to weaponize our autism

Topic: Voyager 1 Thrusters Fired After 37 Years Dormant (Read 121 times) previous topic - next topic

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
Voyager 1 Thrusters Fired After 37 Years Dormant
And they worked perfectly!
Quote
This week, the scientists and engineers on the Voyager team did something very special. 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.

After sending the commands on Tuesday, it took 19 hours and 35 minutes for the signal to reach Voyager. Then, the Earth-bound spacecraft team had to wait another 19 hours and 35 minutes to see if the spacecraft responded. It did. After nearly four decades of dormancy, the Aerojet Rocketdyne manufactured thrusters fired perfectly.

Re: Voyager 1 Thrusters Fired After 37 Years Dormant
Reply #1
They don't build 'em like they used to. :)

  • MSG
Re: Voyager 1 Thrusters Fired After 37 Years Dormant
Reply #2
Kind of puts poster "Worldtraveller" into perspective
braying among the ruins

Re: Voyager 1 Thrusters Fired After 37 Years Dormant
Reply #3
Why they did this: Voyager 1 Fires Up Thrusters After 37 Years (NASA/JPL)
Quote
Since 2014, engineers have noticed that the thrusters Voyager 1 has been using to orient the spacecraft, called "attitude control thrusters," have been degrading. Over time, the thrusters require more puffs to give off the same amount of energy. At 13 billion miles from Earth, there's no mechanic shop nearby to get a tune-up.

The Voyager team assembled a group of propulsion experts at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, to study the problem. Chris Jones, Robert Shotwell, Carl Guernsey and Todd Barber analyzed options and predicted how the spacecraft would respond in different scenarios. They agreed on an unusual solution: Try giving the job of orientation to a set of thrusters that had been asleep for 37 years.


Re: Voyager 1 Thrusters Fired After 37 Years Dormant
Reply #4
They don't build 'em like they used to. :)

Actually, they do. The Rocketdyne MR-103 trajectory correction maneuver (TCM) engines used on Voyager are still manufactured by Aerojet Rocketdyne. The New Horizons probe uses the MR-103H variant. Produces a scorching 1 N of thrust.
  :whoosh:

http://www.rocket.com/propulsion-systems/monopropellant-rockets

http://www.rocket.com/files/aerojet/documents/Capabilities/PDFs/Monopropellant%20Data%20Sheets.pdf

edit: That's not a lot of thrust. Model rocket engines are more powerful.  Of course, they can't be fired repeatedly, and probably wouldn't work after being stored for 37 years in space.


  • Last Edit: December 03, 2017, 02:00:34 PM by Autonemesis

Re: Voyager 1 Thrusters Fired After 37 Years Dormant
Reply #5
Yabut you can't know for sure if they really still do build those units to the same standards as they did back then for another 37 years at least.

But anyway, that has to be a truly incredible moment when you learn that you just communicated with a vintage iconic spacecraft in interstellar space and it responded flawlessly to your commands.

  • ffejrxx
Re: Voyager 1 Thrusters Fired After 37 Years Dormant
Reply #6
a buddy gave me an intel 8082 a few weeks ago, powered it up and it worked just fine

hard to be said for newer electronics to keep working after nearly 40 years

  • MikeS
Re: Voyager 1 Thrusters Fired After 37 Years Dormant
Reply #7
a buddy gave me an intel 8082 a few weeks ago, powered it up and it worked just fine

hard to be said for newer electronics to keep working after nearly 40 years
I would argue that the poor record of performance is more to do with the software running the systems than the hardware itself.

I have a desk full of CPUs from computer rebuilds and they work all the time, I've never had to throw one out even when ordered blind on ebay.

My operating systems, on the other hand, have crashed, frozen, bugged out and just plain not worked until rebooted or replaced.  Imagine if your car was as reliable as Windows 10.

  • ffejrxx
Re: Voyager 1 Thrusters Fired After 37 Years Dormant
Reply #8
the 8082 cpu is soldered to a pcb with several electrolytic caps that havent failed yet
common issue with caps from the eariler 2000s
looks similar to this
http://www.mmt8.com/graphics/inside/4.jpg

i agree, cpus themselves rarely fail on their own, unless run overtemp or voltage

  • el jefe
  • asleep till 2020 or 2024
Re: Voyager 1 Thrusters Fired After 37 Years Dormant
Reply #9
jesus, these thrusters were last fired when I was in pre-school.  I turn 40 in a few weeks.