Scroll down to read this post.

 

Please consider supporting my work here at Behind The Black by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, in any one of the following ways:

 

1. Zelle: This is the only internet method that charges no fees. All you have to do is use the Zelle link at your internet bank and give my name and email address (zimmerman at nasw dot org). What you donate is what I get.

 

2. Patreon: Go to my website there and pick one of five monthly subscription amounts, or by making a one-time donation.
 

3. A Paypal Donation:

4. A Paypal subscription:


5. Donate by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman and mailed to
 
Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652


Voyager 1 fires thrusters not used in 37 years

Because Voyager 1’s primary attitude thrusters are beginning to show wear (after forty years in space), engineers decided to experiment using a different set of thrusters not used since the spacecraft flew past Saturn in 1980, and found that they worked!

In the early days of the mission, Voyager 1 flew by Jupiter, Saturn, and important moons of each. To accurately fly by and point the spacecraft’s instruments at a smorgasbord of targets, engineers used “trajectory correction maneuver,” or TCM, thrusters that are identical in size and functionality to the attitude control thrusters, and are located on the back side of the spacecraft. But because Voyager 1’s last planetary encounter was Saturn, the Voyager team hadn’t needed to use the TCM thrusters since November 8, 1980. Back then, the TCM thrusters were used in a more continuous firing mode; they had never been used in the brief bursts necessary to orient the spacecraft.

…On Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017, Voyager engineers fired up the four TCM thrusters for the first time in 37 years and tested their ability to orient the spacecraft using 10-millisecond pulses. The team waited eagerly as the test results traveled through space, taking 19 hours and 35 minutes to reach an antenna in Goldstone, California, that is part of NASA’s Deep Space Network.

Lo and behold, on Wednesday, Nov. 29, they learned the TCM thrusters worked perfectly — and just as well as the attitude control thrusters.

They figure these back-up thrusters will allow them to extend the mission by two or three years. The test also went so well that they now plan to do the same test on Voyager 2, which has still not entered interstellar space.

Share

Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!

 

From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

 
Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.

 

“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.

 

All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

 

Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.

10 comments

  • LocalFluff

    Why does it need to use thrusters anymore?

  • LocalFluff: I assume the spacecraft still has to be oriented properly to communicate with Earth.

  • Chris

    I have well over 40 years going and my thrusters still work but I wonder about my attitude!

  • Gary M.

    Old thrusters and attitude. I like this article on many levels.

  • Judy

    Good thing they worked! It would be real expensive to take it into the shop for repairs.

  • Edward

    Judy,
    There is a phrase for that: beyond economical repairs.

    My brother has the family car, bought new in 1976, and when the engine became too expensive to keep running, he decided to turn it into an electric car. It is still running on batteries. It isn’t quite analogous, but it took my brother longer to convert the car than it took the engineers to switch thrusters (but the man-hours may be similar).

    Robert,
    Yes, it is my understanding that the high gain antenna is fixed (does not move with respect to the spacecraft) and the whole spacecraft must be properly oriented in order to communicate to or from Earth. (I’m sure that there are some inappropriate orientation and attitude jokes for this, such as: “is that a thruster in your pocket or are you just happy to talk with me?”)
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voyager_1#Spacecraft_components

    Four decades and still going. Kind of like the Energizer bunny. They sure knew how to make ’em, in those days. Kudos to the engineers and technicians who made it work so well.

  • Joe

    Amazing considering how harsh the environment it is operating in is, really robust materials and engineering!

  • Edward & Joe:

    My first thought was ‘What a testament to the people.’ I hope those folks are around to see it, because that is very cool.

  • Rick

    Just watched a Netflix documentary on the Viking missions called The Farthest.
    The signals coming back are approximately 1 trillionth of a watt!

  • Kurt

    V-GER LIVES!!!

Readers: the rules for commenting!

 

No registration is required. I welcome all opinions, even those that strongly criticize my commentary.

 

However, name-calling and obscenities will not be tolerated. First time offenders who are new to the site will be warned. Second time offenders or first time offenders who have been here awhile will be suspended for a week. After that, I will ban you. Period.

 

Note also that first time commenters as well as any comment with more than one link will be placed in moderation for my approval. Be patient, I will get to it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.