16 January 2006

Ready for Launch!

Image Credit: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
/Southwest Research Institute (JHUAPL/SwRI)

New Horizons is in full flight configuration and on schedule for liftoff tomorrow, 17 January 2006, with the opening of primary launch window coming at 13:24:00 EST. See my previous article for more details about this exciting mission.

New Horizons Update
On Tuesday, Jan. 17, at 10:39 a.m., Pad 41 will be cleared of personnel in preparation for cryogenic fueling operations which are scheduled to begin at L-2 hours, or 11:24 a.m.

New Horizons Mission
NASA's New Horizons spacecraft will be the first spacecraft to visit Pluto and its moon Charon. No spacecraft has ever visited the planet, and not even the Hubble Space Telescope can spot details on its rocky, icy surface. Yet with the New Horizons mission, now in development and planning for liftoff January 2006 from Launch Complex 41 at the Kennedy Space Center, NASA looks to unlock one of the solar system's last, great planetary secrets.

After launch aboard an Atlas V, New Horizons would cross the entire span of the solar system -- in record time -- and conduct flyby studies of Pluto and its moon, Charon, in 2015. The seven science instruments on the piano-sized probe would shed light on the bodies' surface properties, geology, interior makeup and atmospheres.

NASA TV coverage of the event begins 11 a.m. EST.


On the pad and ready to go at Kennedy Space Center. Image Credit: NASA/KSC



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