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New Horizons mission to Pluto delayed

Published by Sigurd De Keyser on Wed Jan 18, 2006 12:02 am
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NASA will try again on Wednesday, Jan. 18 to launch an Atlas V rocket carrying the New Horizons spacecraft. The launch window extends from 1:16 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. EST. The Atlas V is poised for liftoff from Launch Pad 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

During the first launch attempt on Jan. 17, the countdown was extended several times in hopes that excessive upper level and ground winds would die down. But ultimately, the winds surpassed limits during the final minutes, preventing a liftoff. The spacecraft and launch vehicle remained healthy throughout the countdown, with no technical issues.

As the first spacecraft to visit Pluto and its moon Charon, New Horizons looks to unlock one of the solar system’s last, great planetary secrets. After launch aboard an Atlas V, the New Horizons spacecraft will cross the entire span of the solar system and conduct flyby studies of Pluto and its moon, Charon, in 2015. The seven science instruments on the piano-sized probe will shed light on the bodies’ surface properties, geology, interior makeup and atmospheres.

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