Friday, August 05, 2005

National Environmental Policy Act New Horizons Mission

SpaceRef - Your Space Reference: "The New Horizons mission is planned for launch in January-February 2006 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS), Florida, on an expendable launch vehicle. With a launch in mid January 2006, the New Horizons spacecraft would arrive at Pluto as early as 2015 and would conduct scientific investigations of Pluto and its moon, Charon, as it flies past these bodies. The spacecraft may then continue on an extended mission into the Kuiper Belt, where it would investigate one or more of the objects found there. The spacecraft would require electrical power for normal spacecraft operations and to operate the science instruments. One radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG) containing plutonium dioxide would be used for this purpose. A backup launch opportunity could occur in February 2007 with an arrival at Pluto in 2019 or 2020 depending upon the exact date of launch."