Emily LakdawallaJul 14, 2015

New Horizons "phones home" after Pluto flyby

After a wait of more than 22 hours with no communication, New Horizons "phoned home" precisely on schedule after its flyby of Pluto. The signal was received at 00:52:37 UT | 20:52:37 ET | 17:52:37 PT. As planned, New Horizons returned no images with the Phone Home downlink. But every bit of telemetry indicated that the flyby executed successfully. The thrusters used as much fuel as expected; no "autonomy rules" were called, indicating that the spacecraft computer did not reset; and most importantly, the solid state data recorders are now crammed full of data.

One science team member told me that the telemetry stream that includes spacecraft health information also contains realtime PEPSSI energetic particle data, so there is actually a teensy tiny bit of post-flyby science data on the ground.

Tomorrow will see two downlinks of data, one shorter and one longer. The downlinks will include one global view each of Pluto, Charon, Nix, and Hydra at different resolutions and three high-resolution images of Pluto from near closest approach. There will also be data from SWAP, REX, and Alice.

I heard lots and lots of commentary and interpretation of the color Pluto data but I am too tired to write it up today. A press briefing is scheduled for 19:00 UT | 15:00 ET | 12:00 PT. More tomorrow! Follow my Twitter stream for updates.

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