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New Horizons

New Horizons Mission type Pluto flyby Operator NASA COSPAR ID 2006-001A SATCAT ? 28928 Website http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/ Mission duration Primary mission: 9.5 years 8 years, 11 months and 21 days elapsed Spacecraft properties Manufacturer Applied Physics Laboratory Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) Launch mass 478 kilograms (1,054 lb) Power 228 watts Start of mission Launch date January 19, 2006, 19:00:00 (2006-01-19UTC19Z) UTC Rocket Atlas V 551 Launch site Cape Canaveral SLC-41 Contractor ILS Flyby of 7005132524000000000(132524) APL (incidental) Closest approach June 13, 2006 Flyby of Jupiter (gravity assist) Closest approach February 28, 2007 Flyby of Pluto Closest approach July 14, 2015 (projected) New Horizons is a NASA space probe launched to study the dwarf planet Pluto, its moons and one or two other Kuiper belt objects, depending on which are in position to be explored. Part of the New Frontiers program, the mission was approved in 2001 after cancellation of Pluto Fast Flyby and Pluto Kuiper Express. The mission profile was proposed by a team led by principal investigator Alan Stern of Southwest Research Institute. After several delays on the launch site, New Horizons was launched on 19 January 2006 from Cape Canaveral, directly into an Earth-and-solar-escape trajectory with an Earth-relative speed of about 16.26 kilometers per second (58,536 km/h; 36,373 mph); it set the record for the highest launch speed of a human-made object from Earth. New Horizons should perform a flyby of the Pluto system on 14 July 2015.After a brief encounter with asteroid 132524 APL, New Horizons proceeded to Jupiter, making its closest approach on 28 February 2007 at a distance of 2.3 million kilometers (1.4 million miles). The Jupiter flyby provided a gravity assist that increased New Horizons?'? speed by 4 km/s (14,000 km/h; 9,000 mph). The encounter was also used as a general test of New Horizons?'? scientific capabilities, returning data about the planet's atmosphere, moons and magnetosphere. After Jupiter, the probe continued toward Pluto. Much of the post-Jupiter voyage has been spent in hibernation mode to preserve onboard systems. New Horizons photographed Pluto for the first time in September 2006, followed by an image that distinguished Pluto and its moon Charon as two separate objects in July 2013. Radio signals take more than 4 hours to travel to the spacecraft from Earth.
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