The goal is to extend the life of Voyager’s sensors.
46 years after the launch of Voyager 1 and Voyager 2, interstellar probes are still receiving software updates, he writes. Space.com website. One new patch aims to fix Voyager 1’s faulty data transmissions from last year, and another update could prevent dirt from accumulating in the spacecraft’s engines. Thanks to repairs, the Voyagers can serve humanity longer.
“At this advanced stage of the mission, the engineering team faces many challenges for which we simply do not have a script,” he said. Linda Spilker, an employee of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and a researcher on the project. Despite this, the team continues to come up with creative solutions.
In May 2022, ground control encountered anomalies while receiving messages from Voyager-1’s AACS system – the AACS aligns the probe’s antenna with the Earth. As far as the researchers could tell, the AACS devices were working perfectly, but for some unknown reason they were routing telemetry data through an old computer.
Engineers have now put together the software update that was first sent to Voyager 2 on October 20.
The spacecraft is currently about 24 billion kilometers from Earth.
The fix doesn’t answer why Voyager-1 failed, but the update was sent to that spacecraft anyway. The information covers the amazing distance in about 20 hours.
By the way, spacecraft can adjust their antennas by turning on their engines, but this creates deposits in the tubes. Engineers fear that too much maneuvering will render the sensors immobile, so they are trying to reduce the use of motors.