Voyager Spacecraft

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    Voyager Spacecraft

    This artifact is a Development Test Model (DTM) for the Voyager spacecraft that consists of facsimile and dummy parts manufactured by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. It was acquired in 1977 and placed on display in the Exploring the Planets gallery shortly thereafter. In 1987, JPL removed the DTM bus for use in developing the Magellan Venus spacecraft, which was similar in design, and replaced it with a facsimile.

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    Voyager Spacecraft

    The main bus on the full-scale Voyager spacecraft mock-up consists of a 10-sided aluminum framework with 10 electronic compartments; a white, 3.66 m-diameter (12 f-ft) parabolic reflector high gain antenna is mounted above the main bus (dummy mock-up); three booms containing scientific instruments and the power source also extend from the main bus (booms: flight-like); an aluminum truss mounted to one side supports both the long magnetometer boom as well as the boom for the radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs); the RTG's are contained in 3 separate cylinders, each with 6 perpendicular panels that extend outwards (RTGs: dummy mock-ups); a single, long radio antenna also extends from this truss; the instrument boom is mounted separately on the opposite side of the main bus; a steerable platform is connected at the end of this boom allows the wide angle and narrow angle cameras as well as the ultraviolet spectrometer (dummy mock-up), infrared interferometer spectrometer (flight-like) and radiometer and photopolarimeter (flight-like) to be pointed at targets; a white square calibration target is mounted underneath the instrument boom and is supported by a black, insulated truss connected to the bottom of the main bus. All of the structural members (except for the bus) are flight-like.

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    Voyager Spacecraft

    On August 23, 1977, the man-powered aircraft Gossamer Condor successfully demonstrated sustained, maneuverable manpowered flight and won the £50,000 ($95,000) Kremer Prize. Pilot Bryan Allen took off from Shafter Airport, Shafter, California, at 7:30 a.m. and landed 7 minutes, 27.5 seconds later.

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This artifact is a Development Test Model (DTM) for the Voyager spacecraft that consists of facsimile and dummy parts manufactured by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. It was acquired by NASM in 1977 and placed on display in the Exploring the Planets gallery shortly thereafter. In 1987, JPL removed the DTM bus for use in developing the Magellan Venus spacecraft, which was similar in design, and replaced it with a facsimile.

The Voyager program was conceived in the mid-1960's as a mission to explore the outer planets using Mariner-style spacecraft. Officially, the original objective to investigate all of the outer planets in a "grand tour" was scaled back to Jupiter and Saturn exclusively due to budgetary cut-backs. However, Voyager 2 was launched on August 20, 1977 and placed on a slow flight path to Jupiter. Subsequently, Voyager 1 was launched on September 5, 1977 and arrived at Jupiter first in March 1979 and Saturn in November 1980. Because Saturn's moon, Titan, is the only other planet with a predominately nitrogen atmosphere, Voyager 1's trajectory was designed to pass within 2550 miles. This manuever caused the flight path to leave the ecliptic plane and out of the Solar System. Voyager 2 encounter Jupiter in July 1979 and Saturn in August 1981. Its slower flight path was designed to allow it to go on to Uranus in January 1986 and then to Neptune in August 1989 as the funding became available to continue the mission.

The Voyager TV cameras, ultraviolet and infrared spectrometers, and photopolarimeter are mounted on a scan platform that is stabilized about two axes of rotation. These instruments can be pointed with and accuracy of better than one-tenth of a degree. Because the spacecraft travel at speeds in excess of 35,000 mph, and the light levels at Neptune can be 900 times fainter than those on Earth, the spacecraft angular rates were programmed to extremely small to prevent smearing.