20 January 2006

Lit Candle

Wow. What an image:

Image Credit: NASA

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLA. — From between lightning masts surrounding the launch pad, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft roars into the blue sky aboard an Atlas V rocket spewing flames and smoke. Liftoff was on time at 2 p.m. EST from Complex 41 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. This was the third launch attempt in as many days after scrubs due to weather concerns. The compact, 1,050-pound piano-sized probe will get a boost from a kick-stage solid propellant motor for its journey to Pluto. New Horizons will be the fastest spacecraft ever launched, reaching lunar orbit distance in just nine hours and passing Jupiter 13 months later. The New Horizons science payload, developed under direction of Southwest Research Institute, includes imaging infrared and ultraviolet spectrometers, a multi-color camera, a long-range telescopic camera, two particle spectrometers, a space-dust detector and a radio science experiment. The dust counter was designed and built by students at the University of Colorado, Boulder. The launch at this time allows New Horizons to fly past Jupiter in early 2007 and use the planet’s gravity as a slingshot toward Pluto. The Jupiter flyby trims the trip to Pluto by as many as five years and provides opportunities to test the spacecraft’s instruments and flyby capabilities on the Jupiter system. New Horizons could reach the Pluto system as early as mid-2015, conducting a five-month-long study possible only from the close-up vantage of a spacecraft.

Click here for a large version (498 kb)

Those unable to view yesterday's magnificent launch may do so by clicking here.

View video of the SRB separation here.

More here in NASA's video archive.

Added 19:17 CST: Now we're talkin'. Check out the nicely updated gallery of New Horizons launch imagery courtesy of the Kennedy Space Center. Sweet!

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Blogger zach said...

Great NASA photos. I have seen NASA tv once or twice, it is the best TV out there if you can get it. Shoot for the stars.

1:29 PM CST  
Blogger Wolverine said...


If I can play my cards right, I'm going to head to the Cape for one of the upcoming Shuttle launches, hopefully the upcoming STS-121 mission. Hope they can solve the ET foam-shedding issue...

1:36 PM CST  

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