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Media Detail

National Aeronautics and Space Administration
John F. Kennedy Space Center
Kennedy Space Center, Florida 32899
FOR RELEASE: 01/19/2006
PHOTO NO: KSC-06PD-0094
Open Image KSC-06PD-0094

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No copyright protection is asserted for this photograph. If a recognizable person appears in this photograph, use for commercial purposes may infringe a right of privacy or publicity. It may not be used to state or imply the endorsement by NASA employees of a commercial product, process or service, or used in any other manner that might mislead. Accordingly, it is requested that if this photograph is used in advertising and other commercial promotion, layout and copy be submitted to NASA prior to release.

PHOTO CREDIT:   NASA or National Aeronautics and Space Administration

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLA. — Viewed from the top of the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft roars off the launch pad aboard an Atlas V rocket spewing flames and smoke. Liftoff was on time at 2 p.m. EST from Complex 41 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. This was the third launch attempt in as many days after scrubs due to weather concerns. The compact, 1,050-pound piano-sized probe will get a boost from a kick-stage solid propellant motor for its journey to Pluto. New Horizons will be the fastest spacecraft ever launched, reaching lunar orbit distance in just nine hours and passing Jupiter 13 months later. The New Horizons science payload, developed under direction of Southwest Research Institute, includes imaging infrared and ultraviolet spectrometers, a multi-color camera, a long-range telescopic camera, two particle spectrometers, a space-dust detector and a radio science experiment. The dust counter was designed and built by students at the University of Colorado, Boulder. The launch at this time allows New Horizons to fly past Jupiter in early 2007 and use the planet’s gravity as a slingshot toward Pluto. The Jupiter flyby trims the trip to Pluto by as many as five years and provides opportunities to test the spacecraft’s instruments and flyby capabilities on the Jupiter system. New Horizons could reach the Pluto system as early as mid-2015, conducting a five-month-long study possible only from the close-up vantage of a spacecraft. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

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