Skip to the main content.
Find Channel


Find Channel

1 min read

NASA's Voyager 1 online again after glitch stalled operations for 7 months

Interstellar space —  NASA's Voyager 1, the most distant spacecraft from Earth, is conducting normal science operations for the first time following a technical issue that arose in November 2023.

Voyager 1 NASANASA said it partially resolved the issue in April when they prompted the spacecraft to begin returning engineering data, which includes information about the health and status of the spacecraft.

About a month later, on  May 19, the mission team executed the second step of that repair process and beamed a command to the spacecraft to start returning science data. Two of the four science instruments returned to their normal operating modes immediately. Two other instruments required some additional work, but now, all four are returning usable science data, according to the space agency. 

Launched in 1977, Voyager 1 is drifting through interstellar space, or the space between star systems. The spacecraft previously discovered a thin ring around Jupiter and several of Saturn’s moons. Its instruments are designed to collect information about plasma waves, magnetic fields and particles.

The four instruments study plasma waves, magnetic fields, and particles. Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 are the only spacecraft to directly sample interstellar space, which is the region outside the heliosphere — the protective bubble of magnetic fields and solar wind created by the Sun.

While Voyager 1 is back to conducting science, according to NASA, additional minor work is needed to clean up the effects of the issue. Among other tasks, engineers will resynchronize timekeeping software in the spacecraft’s three onboard computers so they can execute commands at the right time. The team will also perform maintenance on the digital tape recorder, which records some data for the plasma wave instrument that is sent to Earth twice per year. (Most of the Voyagers’ science data is sent directly to Earth and not recorded.)

Voyager 1 is more than 15 billion miles from Earth. Its twin Voyager 2 — also in interstellar space — is more than 12 billion miles  away. The probes will mark 47 years of operations later this year. They are NASA’s longest-running and most-distant spacecraft. Both spacecraft flew past Jupiter and Saturn, while Voyager 2 also flew past Uranus and Neptune.




Have a comment or news tip for us?

Reach out and share your story.

Contact Us