This simulation shows the paths followed by the Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 spacecraft.
Voyager 1 was launched on 5th September 1977 and then flew past the planet Jupiter on 5th March 1979, and the planet Saturn on 12th November 1980.
Voyager 2 was launched on 20th August 1977 and then flew past the planet Jupiter on 9th July 1979, the planet Saturn on 25th August 1981, the planet Uranus on 25th January 1986, and the planet Neptune on 25th August 1989.
The starting date for the simulation is 1st January 1978 - a few months after the launch of the two spacecraft. If you run the simulation forward, you can watch the two spacecraft's encounters with Jupiter and Saturn, followed by Voyager 2's encounters with Uranus and Neptune. You can see how the paths (orbits) followed by the two spacecraft are changed by the encounters, and how gravity assists are used to move from planet to planet. Because Trajectory Correction Maneuvers (TCMs) are not included, Voyager 2's encounters with Uranus and Neptune are poorly simulated, and no significant gravity assist from Uranus is seen. Note that both spacecraft ended up on hyperbolic orbits - leaving the solar system, never to return.
Since different computers run at different speeds, you may need to edit the evolution time step to get the simulation to run at an acceptable rate.
You can find out more about Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 from the following websites:
Copyright © 2005-2023, AstroGrav Astronomy Software