January 19th, 2006

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New Horizons: Third Time's the Charm

NASA is going to try to launch New Horizons again today. This would be the third attempt, and today's launch window lasts from 1:08 PM to 3:07 PM EST. As I said yesterday, I'll create a blog entry around 1 PM EST for open commenting as we watch and wait for what we all hope is a succesful launch.

The launch window does last until February 14; however, I saw in the New York Times this morning that if we don't launch until after January 28, the probe's arrival at Pluto will be delayed by five years, to 2020. (Current plan is for it to arrive in July 2015, because launching in January will allow for a gravity assist from Jupiter.)

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New Horizons Has Launched

At 2:00 PM EST the New Horizons spacecraft launched successfully from Cape Canaveral. We're still watching the feed from NASA-TV, but everything looks good. The spacecraft will pass the Moon at roughly 11:00 PM tonight, eventually swing by Jupiter for a gravity assist, and in nine years will reach the planet (yes, I said planet) Pluto.

Thanks to everyone who joined me across the Internet as we watched the launch today.

I'll see you all back here in 2015.