voyager 1 probe collage
A collage of images from the Voyager missions
The pioneering Voyager 1 deep-space probe is once again sending usable engineering updates back to Earth after five months of repairs, NASA officials announced Monday.

Voyager 1, which along with its twin, Voyager 2, are the only spacecraft to ever fly in interstellar space, has not been able to send readable data about its health or scientific mission since Nov. 14.

But following lengthy and sophisticated attempts to establish a technological work-around, NASA revealed Monday its engineers had succeeded in once again receiving Voyager's engineering status updates that can be deciphered.

Its scientific data reports, however, remain unreadable and is the next issue to be addressed, the agency said.

Scientists with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California confirmed that the problem was traced to one of the craft's three onboard computers, called the flight data subsystem, or FDS, which is responsible for packaging the science and engineering data before it's sent to Earth.

They discovered that a single chip in the FDS is malfunctioning, and as a fix worked on transferring the code contained in the chip into a series of three other locations within the FDS -- a complicated maneuver involving a sophisticated series of changes necessary to ensure the various components could still function together.

Because Voyager 1, the most distant man-made object in space, is more than 15 billion miles away, long waits of nearly 24 hours were necessary to complete each step of the modifications.

But on Saturday, NASA received confirmation the changes were completed and successful as the probe once again began sending back readable engineering data.

Meanwhile, Voyager 2 continues to operate normally, they said.

The twin Voyager spacecraft were launched in 1977 and remain the longest-running and most distant spacecraft in human history.

Before entering interstellar space, both probes flew by Saturn and Jupiter, while Voyager 2 flew by Uranus and Neptune.