NASA’s iconic Voyager 1 marks 45 years in space

NASA’s venerable Voyager 1 spacecraft has reached a key milestone.

The Voyager 1 probe launched 45 years ago, on Sept. 5, 1977, just weeks after its twin Voyager 2 but soon overtaking it. The two spacecraft were designed to fly past Jupiter and Saturn, taking advantage of a favorable solar system alignment. At the time, no one expected the spacecraft to still be working more than four decades later. But now, the Voyagers are stretching toward a round 50 years in space. Voyager 1 is currently more than 14.6 billion miles (23.5 billion kilometers) from Earth — that’s more than 157 times the distance from our planet to the sun — and is traveling outward at a speed of 38,000 mph (60,000 kph).

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