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Voyager Update - Where No Spacecraft Has Ever Gone Before!
News story originally written on September 26, 2000

The Voyager program celebrated its 20th anniversary in 1997. Now Voyager is celebrating another milestone! The Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 spacecraft have passed the orbit of Pluto and they are now exploring the environment of space. Scientists have received signals from both spacecraft that mean that the spacecraft are coming near the heliopause. It is thought that the Voyager probes will pass beyond the heliosphere ~2008. They will then enter interstellar space where no spacecraft has ever gone before!

Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 were both launched in the summer of 1977. Their main mission was to explore Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. The Voyager spacecraft were originally designed to have a lifetime of 5 years. The two spacecraft operated so well that the mission was extended. In fact, Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 are still operating even after 23 years of travelling through the solar system! As of 9/08/00, Voyager 1 was 7,310,000,000 miles from the Sun and Voyager 2 was 5,754,000,000 miles from the Sun. The total distance traveled by Voyager 1 as of 9/08/00 was 13,575,000,000 and the total distance for Voyager 2 was 12,671,000,000 miles!

If there are no serious system failures, it is expected that the two spacecraft will survive another 20 years at which time their power sources will run out.

Last modified December 19, 2003 by Randy Russell.

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