History of Voyager
The probes were launched in 1977 to take advantage of a favorable alignment of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Although their original mission was to study only the planetary systems of Jupiter and Saturn, Voyager 2 continued on to Uranus and Neptune. The Voyagers now explore the outer boundary of the heliosphere in interstellar space; their mission has been extended three times and they continue to transmit useful scientific data. Neither Uranus nor Neptune has been visited by a probe other than Voyager 2.
On 25 August 2012, data from Voyager 1 indicated that it had become the first human-made object to enter interstellar space, traveling "further than anyone, or anything, in history". As of 2013, Voyager 1 was moving with a velocity of 17 kilometers per second (11 mi/s) relative to the Sun.
On 5 November 2018, data from Voyager 2 indicated that it also had entered interstellar space.
Data and photographs collected by the Voyagers' cameras, magnetometers and other instruments, revealed unknown details about each of the four giant planets and their moons. Close-up images from the spacecraft charted Jupiter's complex cloud forms, winds and storm systems and discovered volcanic activity on its moon Io. Saturn's rings were found to have enigmatic braids, kinks and spokes and to be accompanied by myriad "ringlets". At Uranus, Voyager 2 discovered a substantial magnetic field around the planet and ten more moons. Its flyby of Neptune uncovered three rings and six hitherto unknown moons, a planetary magnetic field and complex, widely distributed auroras. Voyager 2 is the only spacecraft to have visited the two ice giants. In August 2018, NASA confirmed, based on results by the New Horizons spacecraft, of a "hydrogen wall" at the outer edges of the Solar System that was first detected in 1992 by the two Voyager spacecraft.
The Voyager spacecraft were built at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California and they were funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), which also financed their launches from Cape Canaveral, Florida, their tracking and everything else concerning the probes.
The cost of the original program was $865 million, with the later-added Voyager Interstellar Mission costing an extra $30 million.