On the way to Pluto at last!

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Abdul Alhazred
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On the way to Pluto at last!

Post by Abdul Alhazred » Thu Jan 19, 2006 9:33 pm

From Space Daily
http://tinyurl.com/dkntm
<img src="http://www.spacedaily.com/images/atlas5 ... nch-bg.jpg" align=left hspace=12>
NASA's New Horizons 3-billion-mile-plus mission to the outer solar system finally got underway Thursday when the half-ton spacecraft executed a picture-perfect liftoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time atop an Atlas V booster. It is expected to rendezvous with the planet Pluto and its moons sometime in mid-2015, and perhaps even to visit the mysterious objects in the Kuiper Belt that extend well beyond Pluto's orbit.

Carrying the spacecraft, its Centaur second stage, and a unique third-stage Star-48B kick motor into space, the Atlas produced more than 2 million pounds of thrust at liftoff and cleared the four surrounding 350-foot lightning towers in under five seconds.

The Atlas completed its burn about four minutes and 30 seconds into the mission and separated from the Centaur upper stage. The Centaur fired and lifted the spacecraft into a temporary elliptical parking orbit, then ignited a second time, burning nearly 10 minutes before separating from the Star-48B, which pushed New Horizons well past escape velocity. <br clear=all> ...
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Post by Guy Noir » Fri Jan 20, 2006 1:07 pm

I was wasting time at work watching the launch.

Fun fact: the Original Atlas missle was the first US ICBM. I think it may have been desined without any input from the Von Braun team. It had many new design ideas that the German rocket guys had never thought of.

The Atlas 5 rocket now uses Russian engines.

What a difference 40 years can make.
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Post by Abdul Alhazred » Fri Jan 20, 2006 9:32 pm

Guy Noir wrote:What a difference 40 years can make.
It could have made more. :x
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Post by DrMatt » Sat Jan 21, 2006 1:05 am

Abdul Alhazred wrote:
Guy Noir wrote:What a difference 40 years can make.
It could have made more. :x
It could have made 120 years worth of difference, but then we'd all be dead.
Grayman wrote:If masturbation led to homosexuality you'd think by now I'd at least have better fashion sense.

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Post by DrMatt » Tue Jan 24, 2006 5:56 pm

Now that there's a mission to Pluto, when will there be a mission to Goofy?
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Post by Guy Noir » Tue Jan 24, 2006 9:42 pm

DrMatt wrote:Now that there's a mission to Pluto, when will there be a mission to Goofy?
Doh already took care of that when he sent his cult to the spaceship in the comet's tail.









Or at least it would have been Goofy if they had not all died..........
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Post by swellman » Mon Jan 30, 2006 7:16 pm

http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/mission/whereis_nh.php

Shows current location of New Horizons probe. Updated hourly!

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Post by Abdul Alhazred » Mon Jan 30, 2006 8:39 pm

swellman: Thank you.

Link to a spectacular image of the launch (big):
http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/image/ ... oper_8.jpg
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Post by DrMatt » Mon Jan 30, 2006 9:43 pm

Wow, they're taking it straight out. That must have been a heck of a burn to get it going like that. Remember how the Cassini mission used gravitational resonance with Venus to get going fast enough to reach Saturn? A straight shot out to Pluto makes me think the thing will need a heck of a retrorocket burn to actually catch a decent glimpse of Pluto as it zooms by.

It looks like if they wanted to, they could have sent the thing to Venus and it would be crashing there later this week already. That's fast!
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Post by Abdul Alhazred » Mon Jan 30, 2006 10:34 pm

There will be a bit of "gravity boost" when it flies by Jupiter.
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Post by swellman » Wed Mar 08, 2006 1:58 am

Just bumping this thread because I think it's cool that we can hurl a probe past lunar orbit in 8.5 hours and martian orbit in just 76 days. Per this link "New Horizons will cross the red planet's orbit on April 6, 2006". That just seems cool to me.

Abdul, please start the 30 day countdown.

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Post by Abdul Alhazred » Wed Mar 08, 2006 2:20 am

swellman wrote:Abdul, please start the 30 day countdown.
You do it. :D
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Post by swellman » Wed Mar 08, 2006 2:42 am

We can't add hacks, can we?

One of those countdown clocks one sees on the travel site boards would be nice.

Have to do it the old fashioned way...

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Post by DrMatt » Wed Mar 08, 2006 4:30 am

Abdul Alhazred wrote:There will be a bit of "gravity boost" when it flies by Jupiter.
Yes, the overview clearly shows that as a dogleg in the trajectory. Another one of those angular momentum tricks. I still wonder how they're going to slow the thing down. They picked a good time to catch Pluto, as it'll still be relatively close to the sun. Another 50 years and they'd have a hunk further to go...
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Post by swellman » Wed Mar 08, 2006 7:46 pm

29 days to martian orbit

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Post by En folkefiende » Wed Mar 08, 2006 11:09 pm

swellman wrote:http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/mission/whereis_nh.php

Shows current location of New Horizons probe. Updated hourly!
Whooeee, that thing is ripping right along, too. How long until it crosses Mars orbit?

ETA: Never mind, I see the answer!

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Post by swellman » Thu Mar 09, 2006 9:47 pm

28 days to martian orbit

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Post by Abdul Alhazred » Thu Mar 09, 2006 9:51 pm

Bump!
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Post by swellman » Fri Mar 10, 2006 4:08 pm

Abdul Alhazred wrote:Bump!
Please do not interrupt the countdown. It takes a lot of concentration.

27 days to martian orbit

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Post by swellman » Sat Mar 18, 2006 2:37 pm

Some NH space geek trivia and commentary can be found here.

- The journey will take precisely 3462.7 days, i.e., from 19:00 UTC on Jan, 19, 2006, to 12:00 UTC July 14, 2015, to reach Pluto.

- NH was inside 1 Astronomical Unit (AU) until late on Jan. 29 UTC, therefore it was an inner planet mission for the first 10 days.

- NH will pass the orbit of Mars on April 8, just a little after the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter got there - and MRO had a 5.5-month head start.

- Closest approach to Jupiter will occur at approximately 6 hours UTC on Feb. 28, 2007. Closest approach distance will be 32 Jupiter radii.

- Because NH slows down in a series of Trajectory Correction Maneuvers, the third stage will beat NH to Jupiter. However, because it will not hit the Pluto aim point, it will not beat NH to Pluto. (Which is a relief - can you imagine being the second to arrive at Pluto after all this, having been beat by a derelict Boeing upper stage?)

Updating the countdown based on the above information,

21 days to Martian orbit
347 days to Jupiter
3404 days to Pluto



Orbit encounter information for Saturn, Uranus and Neptune will be added when it becomes available. :shock:

Stay tuned!