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Communications will be maintained until the Voyagers' nuclear power sources can no longer supply enough electrical energy to power critical subsystems.The cost of the Voyager 1 and 2 missions -- including launch, mission operations from launch through the Neptune encounter and the spacecraft's nuclear batteries (provided by the Department of Energy) -- is 5 million.
Thus, the Voyagers were funded to conduct intensive flyby studies of Jupiter and Saturn only.As the spacecraft flew across the solar system, remote-control reprogramming was used to endow the Voyagers with greater capabilities than they possessed when they left the Earth. Their five-year lifetimes stretched to 12 and more.Eventually, between them, Voyager 1 and 2 would explore all the giant outer planets of our solar system, 48 of their moons, and the unique systems of rings and magnetic fields those planets possess.(Voyager 1 entered Interstellar Space on August 25, 2012.) Following Voyager 2's closest approach to Neptune on August 25, 1989, the spacecraft flew southward, below the ecliptic plane and onto a course that will take it, too, to interstellar space.Reflecting the Voyagers' new transplanetary destinations, the project is now known as the Voyager Interstellar Mission.
More than 10,000 trajectories were studied before choosing the two that would allow close flybys of Jupiter and its large moon Io, and Saturn and its large moon Titan; the chosen flight path for Voyager 2 also preserved the option to continue on to Uranus and Neptune.