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ILS To Launch New Horizons Mission To Pluto

Published by Sigurd De Keyser on Sat Jan 14, 2006 4:40 pm
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International Launch Services To Launch New Horizons Mission To Pluto For NASA On Atlas V

Payload: New Horizons
Separated mass: Approx. 1,054 lbs (478 kg)

Launch Vehicle: Atlas V-551, designated AV-010
Weight at liftoff: 1,263,600 lbs (573,160 kg),
including payload
Fairing: 17.7 ft (5.4 m) diameter
Height: 196 ft (59.7 m)

Launch Date: Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2006

Launch Window: 1 hour 59 minutes
1:24-3:23 p.m. EST
18:24-20:23 GMT

Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. Launch Complex 41

Launch Customer: NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Florida

Spacecraft Manufacturer: Applied Physics Laboratory, Johns Hopkins University, Laurel, Md.

Launch Vehicle Manufacturer: Atlas vehicle and Centaur upper stage built by Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Denver, Colo.; San Diego, Calif.; and Harlingen, Texas.

Launch Services Provider: International Launch Services, McLean, Va.

Spacecraft Use: To explore Pluto and its moon Charon using seven instruments to characterize the geology and environment, map surface composition and temperatures, and examine Pluto’s atmosphere.

Mission Profile: Earth escape mission (hyperbolic departure orbit), with two Centaur burns. Event times will depend on the actual launch date; the following timeline summary assumes a Jan. 17 launch. The Atlas V vehicle will lift off from Pad 41. After about 4.5 minutes, the Atlas booster stage will burn out and separate from the Centaur upper stage. The Centaur will ignite and shortly thereafter the payload fairing will be jettisoned. After nearly 5.5 more minutes, the Centaur main engine will cut off and the vehicle will coast about 22 minutes in an elliptical parking orbit. The Centaur will then ignite a second time, burning nearly 10 minutes before separating from the mission-unique third stage that includes a Star-48B kick motor and the New Horizons Observatory. The observatory is due to separate at a mission elapsed time of 47:47 minutes, heading off toward Pluto at a speed of approximately 10 miles per second.

Spacecraft Separation: Approximately 48 minutes after liftoff

Parking Orbit Parameters:
Apogee Altitude: 166 nm (307 km/191 statute miles)
Perigee Altitude: 89 nm (165 km/102 statute miles)

ILS Mission Statistics:

  • 1st ILS mission of the year
  • 7th flight of Atlas V vehicle
  • 2nd Atlas V launch for NASA
  • 135th Atlas launch overall for NASA
  • Atlas family has perfect record in 77 consecutive flights
    All times are EST

    Pre-launch Briefing: 1 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 15
    NASA News Center
    Kennedy Space Center
    This also will be carried on NASA TV.

    Remote Camera Set-up: 2:45 p.m. Monday, Jan. 16. Accredited photographers should meet at KSC News Center to board a van that will take them to Complex 41.

    Vehicle Rollout: 10:30 a.m. Monday, Jan. 16. News media should meet at the KSC Press Site by 9:45 a.m. to board a van that will take them to the viewing site.

    Launch Viewing: We will use the KSC Press Site; for credentials, visit KSC News Center website at https://media.ksc.nasa.gov/

    Live Broadcast: ILS will webcast the launch at www.ilslaunch.com beginning approximately 1:10 p.m. Transmission will be via Intelsat IA-6, transponder 9, C-band, 93 degrees West, downlink 3880 MHz (vertical).
    NASA’s launch broadcast will be carried on NASA TV beginning at 11 a.m.

    More Information: General mission information and launch highlights will be available on the ILS website at www.ilslaunch.com. Launch status updates will be available on the ILS U.S. domestic Launch Hotline at 1-800-852-4980.

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