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Emily LakdawallaJanuary 18, 2006

How New Horizons' launch date affects its arrival date

I'm looking forward to the next launch attempt for New Horizons tomorrow. I was looking at that table of launch times from spaceflightnow.com and realized that the table included another valuable column of data that I hadn't noticed before: it tells you what year New Horizons will arrive, for each of the possible launch dates. Here's a summary of that information:

Launch datesArrival year
Jan. 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28 2015
Jan. 29, 30, 31 2016
Feb. 1, 2 2017
Feb. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 2018
Feb. 9, 10, 11 2019
Feb. 13, 14 2020


I thought it was interesting to see how the dates grouped with the arrival year. Launch dates prior to February 3 get that Jupiter gravity assist; on or after February 3, it's direct to Pluto.

Read more: New Horizons, mission status

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Emily Lakdawalla

Senior Editor and Planetary Evangelist for The Planetary Society
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