New Horizons is a NASA mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt, which was launched on January 19, 2006 from Cape Canaveral on an Atlas-Centaur launch vehicle. New
Horizons is due to arrive at Pluto-Charon in 2015 and will make many encounters with Kuiper Belt Objects between 2016 and 2020.
New Horizons was launched into a Jupiter gravity assist trajectory to Pluto and made a close flyby of Jupiter on February 28, 2007, which it passed at a distance of 2.3 million km (32.2 Rj), which is approximately one-fourth of the closest approach distance during the Cassini/Huygens flyby. The spacecraft is three axis-stabilized, relatively small with a total mass, including fuel, of 460 kg (net weight without fuel is 385 kg). Power comes from a single RTG generating 228 W, and the main communication dish has a diameter of 2.5 m.
The spacecraft carries a number of instruments for remote sensing, relevant to its observations of Jupiter. RALPH is a visible and IR imager/spectrometer, ALICE is an UV imaging spectrometer, REX is New Horizons' Radio Science Experiment, while LORRI (Long Range Reconnaissance Imager) is the spacecraft's camera system. All instruments have very simple designs ensuring low mass and low power.
During New Horizon's flyby of Jupiter, many of the spacecraft instruments were turned on and its main findings were discussed in Chapters 4 and 5.
Was this article helpful?