Voyager 1 is a 1,592 lb space probe launched by NASA on September 5, 1977, to study the outer Solar System. Operating for 37 years and 12 days as of September 17, 2014, the spacecraft communicates with the Deep Space Network to receive routine commands and return data. At a distance of about 128.26 AU (1.919×1010 km) from Earth as of August 9, 2014, it is the farthest spacecraft from Earth.
The primary mission ended on November 20, 1980, after encounters with the Jovian system in 1979 and the Saturnian system in 1980. It was the first probe to provide detailed images of the two planets and their moons. As part of the Voyager program, like its sister craft Voyager 2, the spacecraft is in an extended mission to locate and study the regions and boundaries of the outer heliosphere, and finally to begin exploring the interstellar medium.
On September 12, 2013, NASA announced that Voyager 1 had crossed the heliopause and entered interstellar space on August 25, 2012, making it the first spacecraft to do so. As of 2013, the probe was moving with a relative velocity to the Sun of about 17 km/s. With the velocity the probe is currently maintaining, Voyager 1 is traveling at about 520 million kilometers per year (325 million miles per year). On July 7, 2014, NASA reported Voyager 1 experienced a new third “tsunami wave”, generated from activity (coronal mass ejections) on the sun, further confirming that the probe is in interstellar space. Voyager 1 is expected to continue its mission until 2025, when its generators will no longer supply enough power to operate any of its instruments.
On December 4, 2013, NASA presented the Voyager Project scientist Ed Stone with a NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal and 2014 Howard Hughes Memorial Award by Aero Club of Southern California.