NASA’s New Horizons one-way mission to Pluto, the Kuiper Belt, and beyond got underway with the spacecraft’s successful launch January 19 aboard a Lockheed-Martin Atlas V. The rocket left Launch Pad 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 2 P.M. EST.
The spacecraft’s launch window opened January 17 at 1:16 P.M. EST, but that day’s attempted launch was deemed a “no go” at 3:23 P.M. EST due to high upper- and ground-level winds. On January 18, there was a power outage on the East Coast that resulted in another day’s delay. Fortunately, weather wasn’t an issue and no mechanical problems occurred January 19. New Horizons is now on its way to the edge of the solar system, where it will perform the first direct observations of Pluto, its moons, and Kuiper Belt objects.