NASA announced Thursday that Voyager 1 officially left the solar system, and has been in interstellar space – or between solar systems – since August 2012.
In 1977, the same year Star Wars came out on the big screen, the Voyager mission was launched – and Aerojet played a key role.
“We were participants on the Voyager program, of course, providing propulsion for both the launch and the spacecraft itself,” said Doug Cosens, Executive Director of Programs Aerojet Rocketdyne.
Cosens, as a young engineer in 1977, worked on the Titan rockets that started Voyagers 11.7 billion mile trip.
“To think that still after these many, many years that the spacecraft is still collecting data and exploring the universe and beyond is really marvelous,” said Cosens.
Voyager is now the only human-made object to leave our solar system.
“It marks the beginning of a new era of exploration for Voyager, the exploration of the space between the stars,” said Ed Stone, Voyager Program Scientist.
“Right now we’re really proud to say we have the only propulsion that’s operating in interstellar space,” said Cosens.
Voyager is traveling at 38 thousand miles an hour and will reach the next star in about 40,000 years.