When the Voyager 1 spacecraft proceeds to return science data and otherwise operate as ordinary, the mission team is looking for the source of a system data problem.
The engineering team with NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft attempts to solve a mystery. The interstellar explorer typically regulates, receives, and executes commands from Earth and delegates and returns science data. But readouts from the probe’s behavior articulation and control system (AACS) don’t indicate what is happening onboard.
The AACS governs the 45-year-old spacecraft’s exposure. Among other tasks, it maintains Voyager 1’s high-gain antenna suggested specifically at Earth, facilitating it to send data home. All indications suggest the AACS is still working, but the telemetry data returning is ineffective. For example, the data may seem aimlessly generated or does not indicate any feasible state the AACS could be in.
The issue hasn’t generated any onboard mistake protection systems constructed to put the spacecraft into “safe mode,” a state where only important operations are carried out, giving engineers time to analyze a problem. Voyager 1’s signal hasn’t been undermined, either, which indicates the high-gain antenna remains in its prescribed orientation with Earth.
Each spacecraft generates about four fewer watts of electrical power a year, restricting the number of systems the craft can run. The mission engineering team has switched off several subsystems and heaters to earmark power for science instruments and crucial systems. No science instruments have been turned off yet as an outcome of the diminishing power, and the Voyager team is helping to keep the two spacecraft operating and withdrawing unique science beyond 2025.