Visit the USGS Home Page Go to the Astrogeology Research Program Home Page USGS Astrogeology Research Program

New Horizons Launch

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

New Horizons Launch
Liftoff of the Atlas V carrying NASA's New Horizons spacecraft to a distant date with Pluto!
Image credit: NASA/KSC
330x250

After launch aboard a Lockheed-Martin Atlas V rocket, the New Horizons spacecraft set out on a journey to the edge of the solar system. Liftoff occurred Jan. 19, 2006 at 2:00:00 p.m. EST from Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. New Horizons is headed for a distant rendezvous with the mysterious planet Pluto almost a decade from now.

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. The New Horizons spacecraft will cross the entire span of the solar system and conduct flyby studies of Pluto and 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.

More: NASA -New Horizons Heads for Pluto