On the 25th of August 1989, radio signals from the unmanned Voyager II spacecraft produced high resolution radio displays of the planet Neptune and its moon, Triton, on the monitors of Caltech's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Thus ended the 12-year NASA Voyager I and II missions to the giant outer planets of our solar systems. Somewhat overlooked in the excitement over the impressive scientific findings from Voyager's epic planetary encounters was the power system aboard the spacecraft for data collection and signal transmission. This was the multi-hundred watt, radioisotope fueled thermoelectric generator using thermocouple modules made of Si-Ge alloys. The first section of this paper presents a historical review of the research program at the RCA Laboratories in Princeton, N.J. during the 4-year period required for the conception and development of Si-Ge thermoelements for power generation. This includes RCA's strategy in thermoelectric materials research from the viewpoint of device principles and requirements, scientific issues relating to the growth and thermoelectric characterization of Si-Ce alloys, and device feasibility studies. The performance of Si-Ge thermoelements in the power source of several space missions is also discussed. Finally, a perspective is presented on the research management of this remarkably successful program. The second section of the paper describes the results of more recent research on the thermoelectric properties of hot-pressed, sintered Si-Ge alloys and, in particular, the effects of grain size and additions of GaP. In the final section, consideration is given to future areas of research based, in part, on the results of the earlier studies of Si-Ge technology for thermoelectric power generation.