Thinking

In 1970, following up the trajectory work by G.A. Flandro, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory began to design a sophisticated 'Mark 2' version of its highly successful Mariner series of planetary probes. The plan was to dispatch two pairs of vehicles to investigate the outer Solar System. The first pair would employ Jovian slingshots to reach Saturn, whereupon they would be deflected on to distant Pluto. The second pair would exploit Jupiter to visit first Uranus and then Neptune. Although funding for the development of this new vehicle was not forthcoming, JPL was permitted to modify its existing design to follow up Pioneer 11 with visits to Jupiter and Saturn. Working within this restricted budget, the engineers made every effort to ensure that if the new spacecraft was still healthy at Saturn, and if additional funding could be secured at that point, it would be capable of an 'extended' mission. In 1977, with the launches imminent, this 'Mariner Jupiter-Saturn' mission was renamed 'Voyager'. It was fortunate, of course, that this window was conducive to eventually pursuing the 'Grand Tour'.

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