Voyager 1

Voyager 1 ProbeThe first of a pair of probes sent to the outer planets (the other being Voyager 2). It was originally going to be Mariner 11.


The craft is powered by 3 RadioIsotope ThermoElectric Generators which are tubes with radioactive material that creates heat as it decays. Electricity is generated from this heat. It powers:

  • Scanning Array:
    • Narrow Angle Camera
    • Wide Angle Camera
    • Infrared Spectrometer
    • Ultraviolet Spectrometer
    • Photopolarimeter
    • Plasma Detector
    • Cosmic Ray Detector
    • Low Energy Charged Particle Detector
  • Low Field Magnetometer (Boom)
  • High Field Magnetometer
  • Planetary Radio & Plasma Wave Antennas



Voyager 1 - LaunchVoyager 1 was launched September 5, 1977 atop a Titan IIIE/Centaur rocket. The Titan IIIE portion was the bottom stage and two side rockets. Centaur is the upper stage of the rocket that uses liquid propellants and was used to propel the probe out of orbit. During and a little after the launch Voyager 2 experienced a few major errors that terrified ground crews, but were fixed by the launch vehicle and onboard computers (whew).


The closest approach to Jupiter occurred on March 5, 1979 where it came within 350,000 miles of the planet's center.


The closest approach to Saturn occurred on November 12, 1980 where it came within 124,000 miles of the planet's center. It was then diverted to get a closer look at Titan.

Interstellar Space

It's not there yet, but it's close.

Back to Spacecraft