On New Year’s Day, the New Horizons spacecraft, which flew past Pluto in 2015, will be making another flyby. NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft has been whizzing toward Ultima Thule ever since it completed its primary mission: the historic Pluto flyby of July 2015.
The overall trip was 13 years and 4 Billion miles. NASA estimates that the probe will arrive at its new destination at 12:33 A.M. Eastern time on New Year’s Day (01/01/2019) and engineers have devised a carefully-calculated trajectory to ensure it gets to Thule safely. This will be the most distant flyby ever conducted.
Follow the news at http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/News-Center/Where-to-Watch.php
I have been personally inspired by the success of the New Horizons’ mission. I was present at JHU/APL for the July 2015 Pluto flyby and briefings. Many of the New Horizons engineers continue to teach ATI engineering and science training courses based on their first-hand real-world experience. This has been a high success, 13-year project that may continue to other new objects as the spacecraft is healthy and still performing well. I hope so.
See their information at
Information Timeline ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Date Time Event
31 Monday December, 2018
2:00-3:00 pm EST Press briefing: Ultima Thule flyby science and operations preview. Panelists include Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator, Southwest Research Institute; Helene Winters, New Horizons project manager, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory; John Spencer, New Horizons deputy project scientist, Southwest Research Institute; Frederic Pelletier, navigation team lead, KinetX, Inc.
3:00-4:00 pm EST Q&A: Ask the New Horizons Team. Questions from social media (#askNewHorizons) answered by Alex Parker, New Horizons co-investigator, Southwest Research Institute; Kelsi Singer, co-investigator, Southwest Research Institute; Gabe Rogers, New Horizons deputy mission systems engineer, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory
8:00-11:00 pm EST Panel discussion on the exploration of small worlds (8-9 pm); Ultima Thule flyby countdown events; mission updates
1 Tuesday January, 2019
12:02 am EST Global song release: Brian May, New Horizons contributing scientist and Queen guitarist, “New Horizons (Ultima Thule Mix)”
12:15-12:45 am EST Live coverage of countdown to closest approach (12:33 am); real-time flyby simulations
10:15 – 10:45 am EST Live coverage of New Horizons signal-acquisition activities in the Mission Operations Center, confirming spacecraft status and flyby success
11:30 am– 12:30 pm EST Press briefing: Spacecraft status, latest images and data download schedule. Panelists include Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator, Southwest Research Institute; Alice Bowman, New Horizons mission operations manager, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory; Hal Weaver, New Horizons project scientist, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory; Chris Hersman, New Horizons mission systems engineer, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory.
2 Wednesday January, 2019
2:00-3:00 pm EST Press briefing: Science results from Ultima Thule.Panelists include Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator, Southwest Research Institute; Jeff Moore, New Horizons co-investigator, NASA Ames Research Center; Cathy Olkin, New Horizons deputy project scientist, Southwest Research Institute; Will Grundy, New Horizons co-investigator, Lowell Observatory.
3 Thursday January, 2019
2:00-3:00 pm EST Press briefing: Science results from Ultima Thule.Panelists TBD.
Previous articles about New Horizons on ATI’s website.
Related blog post:
2. NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is 15.96 astronomical units (about 2.39 billion kilometers, or 1.48 billion miles) from the Sun
3. NASA New Horizons spacecraft on the way to rendezvous with planet Pluto
4. The New Horizons Mission to Pluto–Ten Experts Who Worked Behind-the-Scenes On the New Horizons Mission and Who Teach for ATIcourses.
5. New Horizons: Recollections of Ground System Engineer, Steve Gemeny
6. New Horizons – This was almost a disaster, but was saved by knowledgeable scientists.
7. New Horizons Flyover of Pluto