NASA has fired up a set of Aerojet Rocketdyne-built spacecraft thrusters onboard the space agency’s farthest spacecraft which have remained dormant for approximately 37 years.
The space agency said Saturday the four Voyager-1 backup thrusters will be used to help extend the life of the spacecraft in interstellar space which was used to observe Saturn, Jupiter and their respective moons through a series of fly by missions.
The Voyager team gathered propulsion experts at the space agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to predict possible outcomes regarding the spacecraft’s response to various scenarios.
The experts decided to use decades-old data and analyze the software coded in a legacy assembler language to establish a safe strategy for testing the thrusters.
NASA aims to use trajectory correction maneuver thrusters in January to continue operations of the Voyager spacecraft, then the team will switch back to using attitude control thrusters once the limited resources are no longer capable of powering the heaters.