The technicians and administration behind NASA’s New Horizons probe is commemorating the 10th anniversary since its launch date.
Exactly a decade ago, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft underwent liftoff from Florida. Thus began its lengthy quest which would go on to make history.
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The diminutive probe barely weighed a thousand pounds. But as it was hurled into space faster than any other man-made scientific object, it started on an endless journey. The spacecraft would travel 3 billion miles and would take 9.5 years to cover the aforementioned distance.
It recently gave an overview of Pluto with its many small moons. With this New Horizons has fulfilled NASA’s cherished goal of exploring all the planets of the solar system. And to think that it all began just barely 10 years ago.
Today the probe has continued on in its trip beyond the confines of Pluto. It will send back signals that tell us of other strange worlds that lie beyond our familiar solar system. The scientists at NASA are excited and so is the informed public.
In June of 2006, New Horizons took off from its launch pad at Cape Canaveral. The rocket aboard which the probe was placed was a Lockheed Martin Atlas V.
This space vehicle had a Boeing third stage provision. Thus it was the most powerful of rockets to ever have been employed in its space explorations by NASA.
The probe went in its tracks at a speed of 36,000 miles per hour. This is the fastest rate of velocity ever recorded for a space vehicle.
A year and a month later, the New Horizons probe flew past Jupiter. It received gravity assistance thereby making the journey to the edge with Pluto in sight even easier.
Jupiter was the test run that allowed ground control on earth to sharpen and hone the instruments of the spacecraft. In January of 2015, images of Pluto and Charon came into view.
As the probe drew closer and closer to Pluto and its moons, the reality of having achieved the seemingly impossible dawned on the crew back on earth.
Pluto transformed from a small dot all the way to the full-sized planet in the wondrous scheme of astronomical things. Then New Horizons began sending in high quality images of Pluto and its moon Charon to earth.
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It was an amazing feeling for the staff of NASA to see the fruits of their labor being harvested. The success of the mission is indeed cause for celebration.