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Noah Rabinowitz: Voyager Mission Control (detail)

Work / Photography

Meet the NASA team monitoring craft whose mission ended 34 years ago

You’d imagine that behind-the-scenes shots of space missions would be fizzing with tension and excitement, but Noah Rabinowitz’ images tell a very different story.

For nearly 37 years, the twin Voyager I and 2 spacecraft have been orbiting the Earth and in mid August it became the furthest vessel from the planet’s surface. Its primary mission ended on November 20 1980, but a small team of ageing scientists are still assigned to monitoring its status, and what’s more none of them are allowed to retire until one of the probes does (according to team member Enrique Medina).

Noah’s project came from a longstanding fascination with outer space and he describes visiting NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab as a”boyhood dream.” There were however a few obstacles in securing the access he needed. “Negotiating security clearance with NASA was a little complicated, but in the end, they were excited by the renewed interest in the Voyager Missions.”

The resulting series is a terrific slant on the space exploration experience and a gentle reminder that not all of its promises have been fulfilled in the ways we might have expected.

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Noah Rabinowitz: Voyager Mission Control

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Noah Rabinowitz: Voyager Mission Control

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Noah Rabinowitz: Voyager Mission Control

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Noah Rabinowitz: Voyager Mission Control

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Noah Rabinowitz: Voyager Mission Control

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Noah Rabinowitz: Voyager Mission Control

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Noah Rabinowitz: Voyager Mission Control

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Noah Rabinowitz: Voyager Mission Control