Wednesday, October 23, 2013

New Horizons Mission Update 10/23/13





It seems all the NASA program missions are now checking in now that the problem with Congress is over.  Most people don't even think about space exploration in their everyday lives.  The are just concerned about things on Earth and their future on Earth not in Space.  If they really understood that the Earth will not last forever then they would be thinking about migrating to anther world (or think of taking steps to preserve their race in the future by doing so).  The cost of the NASA programs are insignificant compared to all  the rest of the things the US Government spends money on and some of that not to wisely either.  Anyway here is the latest about the New Horizons Mission:


Mission Elapsed Time:
1/19/06, 19:00:00 UTC
2834 Days (7.76 yrs.) 06 Hours 34 Minutes

Pluto Closest Encounter Operations Begin:
4/12/15, 00:00:00 UTC
543 Days (1.49 yrs.) 22 Hours 25 Minutes

Pluto Closest Approach:
7/14/15, 11:49:59 UTC
628 Days (1.72 yrs.)10 Hours 14 Minutes


New Horizons Position and Course in 3 Dimensions:


NH #1



NH #2


NH #3


What does New Horizons say when it calls home? Nothing, without the help of software that transforms zeros and ones from New Horizons’ computers into images, instrument readings, or useful information on the spacecraft’s status. Those datasets are then transmitted to Earth by the telecommunications (radio) system aboard New Horizons.The New Horizons team uses these ranging measurements to determine the spacecraft’s orbit, or its precise location in space. The DSN station modulates a ranging code and transmits it to the spacecraft, which demodulates the code (essentially processing the signal to receive the data) and transmits back to Earth. The DSN station then measures the round-trip time delay – in seconds – between transmission and reception of the ranging code. The measurement allows the team to determine the time needed for a signal to travel between the DSN station and the spacecraft.

NH Flight controlers

New Horizons Flight Control at John Hopkins

"The ranging signal is a special sequence of tones sent to the spacecraft and turned around, or transmitted back,” says Chris DeBoy, New Horizons telecommunications system lead engineer from the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md. “You're hearing those tones as they're received back at Earth, but converted down to a frequency range that the human ear can hear. The ranging technique is just like seeing how much time it takes to hear the echo of your voice reflected off some object to measure how far away you are. Except in this case, the DSN's ‘voice’ is a million or more times higher in frequency than your voice, travels almost a million times faster than the speed of sound, and the round-trip distance is more than 4 billion miles!"

NH Goldstone DSN

NASA Goldstone DSN


NH Canberra DSSN

NASA Canberra DSN

Today, New Horizons is 2.6 billion miles from Earth, between the orbits of Uranus and Neptune, speeding 33,200 miles per hour toward a July 2015 encounter with Pluto and its moons.

New Horizons  Spacecraft Communication Transmission in Audio

These signals were sent to New Horizons on June 29, 2012, from the DSN station in Goldstone, Calif., and returned to the station in Canberra, Australia. Traveling at the speed of light, the signals made the round trip in six hours, 14 minutes and 29 seconds.