The launch of NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, bound for the planet Pluto, is currently targeted for Tuesday, Jan. 17 at 1:24 p.m. EST from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. The launch window extends until 3:23 p.m., a duration of 119 minutes. Liftoff will occur aboard a Lockheed Martin Atlas V rocket from Launch Complex 41. Should launch be postponed for 24 hours for any reason, the next launch window on Jan. 18 will be 1:16 to 3:15 p.m. EST.

New Horizons is the first mission in NASA’s New Frontiers program of medium-class planetary missions. The spacecraft, designed for NASA by Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md., will fly by Pluto and its moon, Charon, as early as summer 2015.

Carrying seven scientific instruments, the compact 1,060-pound New Horizons probe will characterize the geology and environment of Pluto and Charon, map their surface compositions and temperature, and examine Pluto’s complex atmosphere. After the initial mission, flybys of Kuiper Belt objects from even farther in the solar system may be undertaken in an extended mission. A close-up look at these mysterious worlds will provide new information about the origin and evolution of our solar system.

Prelaunch Press Conference

A prelaunch press conference will be held at the NASA News Center at Kennedy Space Center on Sunday, Jan. 15, at 1 p.m. EST. Participating in the briefing will be:

  • Dr. Colleen Hartman, Deputy Associate Administrator, Science Mission Directorate
    NASA Headquarters, Washington
  • Omar Baez, NASA Launch Director/NASA Launch Manager
    Kennedy Space Center
  • Mike Jensen, Vice President and Chief Technical Officer
    International Launch Services
  • Dave Kusnierkiewicz, New Horizons Mission Systems Engineer
    Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
  • Clay Flinn, U.S. Air Force Atlas V Launch Weather Officer
    45th Weather Squadron, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station

New Horizons Mission Science Briefing

A mission science briefing will immediately follow the prelaunch press conference. Participating will be:

  • Alan Stern, New Horizons Principal Investigator
    Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colo.
  • Richard Binzel, Science Team Co-Investigator
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass.
  • William McKinnon, Science Team Co-Investigator
    Washington University, St. Louis, Mo.
  • Dale Cruikshank, Science Team Co-Investigator
    NASA Ames Research Center, Moffet Field, Calif.
  • Fran Bagenal, Science Team Co-Investigator
    University of Colorado, Boulder, Colo.

New Horizons Spacecraft Briefing

A two-part New Horizons spacecraft briefing will immediately follow the mission science briefing. Participating in Part 1 will be:

  • Harold (Hal) Weaver, New Horizons Project Scientist
    Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Md.
  • Dennis Reuter, Ralph Instrument Scientist
    NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
  • Alan Stern, Alice Instrument Principal Investigator
    Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colo.
  • Len Tyler, REX (Radio Science) Principal Investigator
    Stanford University, Palo Alto, Calif.

Participating in Part 2 will be:

  • Andrew Cheng, LORRI Instrument Principal Investigator
    Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Md.
  • Ralph McNutt Jr., PEPSSI Instrument Principal Investigator
    Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Md.
  • David McComas, SWAP Instrument Principal Investigator
    Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio
  • Tiffany Finley, Student Dust Counter Project Manager
    University of Colorado, Boulder, Colo.

Post-launch Press Conference

On launch day, a post-launch press conference is targeted to begin approximately two hours after launch at the KSC News Center, or as soon thereafter as data is available about the spacecraft’s state of health.

Accreditation and Media Access Badges for KSC

Those who need press accreditation and access badges to Kennedy Space Center to cover the New Horizons prelaunch press conference, mission briefings and the launch must complete the accreditation process via the Web by going to:

All accreditation must be received by the close of business on Friday, Jan. 13. Media may obtain their NASA access badge at the Pass and Identification Building located on State Road 405, just east of U.S. 1, south of Titusville. Contact the NASA News Center at 321/867-2468 for further information.

Atlas V Launch Vehicle Rollout

Monday, Jan. 16: There will be a press opportunity to observe rollout of the Atlas V rocket from the Vertical Integration Facility to the launch pad at Complex 41. Media will depart by government bus from the KSC Press Site at 9:45 a.m.

Remote Camera Placement at Complex 41

Monday, Jan. 16: Photographers who wish to set up remote cameras at the Atlas V launch pad will be escorted by Lockheed Martin representatives to Launch Complex 41 from the KSC News Center. Departure will be at 2:45 p.m.

Launch Day Press Site Access

Tuesday, Jan. 17: Media will cover the New Horizons launch from the KSC Press Site. Access will be through Gate 2 on S.R. 3 or Gate 3 on S.R. 405, east of the KSC Visitor Complex. The NASA News Center at KSC will be open on launch day from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. EST.

KSC News Center Hours

Sunday, Jan. 15: Noon — 5 p.m.
Monday, Jan 16: 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 17: 8 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Web Prelaunch and Launch Coverage

A prelaunch webcast is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 15. For more information, go to the NASA Direct Web site at:


NASA Television launch coverage will be webcast at:

Live information updates will be available through Kennedy Space Center’s Virtual Launch Control Center at:

Additional mission information:

NASA Television Coverage

On Sunday, Jan. 15, NASA Television will carry the New Horizons prelaunch press conference and mission briefings live beginning at 1 p.m. EST. On Tuesday, Jan. 17, NASA Television coverage of the launch will begin at 11 a.m. EST and conclude approximately one hour after launch.

A post-launch press conference will be held at the KSC Press Site and carried live on NASA Television. The briefing is targeted to occur approximately two hours after launch, or as soon thereafter as data on the spacecraft state of health is available.

In the continental United States, NASA Television is on AMC-6, Transponder 17C located at 72 degrees West longitude (4040.0 mhz video, 6.8 mhz audio, MPEG-2 digital signal). In Alaska and Hawaii, all events will be on AMC-7 Transponder 18 located at 137 degrees West longitude, (4060 MHz video, 6.8 MHz).

Audio only of the prelaunch press conference and the launch coverage will be carried on the NASA “V” circuits which may be accessed by dialing 321/867-1220…1240…1260…7135. On launch day, “Mission Audio,” the launch conductor’s countdown activities without NASA TV launch commentary, will be carried on 321/867-7135 starting at 5 a.m. Launch will also be available on local amateur VHF radio frequency 146.940 Mhz or UHF radio frequency 442.6 Mhz heard within Brevard County.

Recorded status reports on the launch of the New Horizons and updates to the Media Advisory will be provided on the KSC news media codaphone starting Friday, Jan. 13. The telephone number is 321/867-2525.

The launch management of New Horizons is the responsibility of NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center Launch Services Program. International Launch Services is the launch service provider for the Atlas V. The spacecraft was built for NASA by the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory , which also provides the project management.