New Horizons spacecraft before launch

New Horizons spacecraft before launch

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Credit: NASA/KSC/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: New Horizons spacecraft before launch. Workers looking at the New Horizons spacecraft on top of the Atlas V rocket that will launch it on its 9- year journey to Pluto. Photographed on 16 January 2006, at the Kennedy Space Centre, Florida, USA. New Horizons successfully launched on 19 January 2006. An additional solid propellant motor increased its speed until it became the fastest spacecraft ever launched. It passed the Moon in nine hours, and will reach Jupiter in 13 months, using its gravity to swing past and accelerate towards Pluto. It is expected to reach Pluto in mid-2015 and spend 15 months studying the solar system's most distant planet, never before visited by spacecraft from Earth.

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