Available in PDS3 - CERTIFIED

The New Horizons Space Craft
New Horizons was launched at 19:00 UT (2:00 p.m. EST) on 19 Jan. 2006 on an Atlas V 551 booster with a Star 48B third stage directly into a trajectory to take it to the Pluto system and on to an encounter with a Kuiper Belt Object. In order to accomplish this, a gravity assist from Jupiter was required. For a 4-month period centered on 28 Feb 2007 a jovian observational campaign was carried out and the data were officially archived in the PDS. The flyby passed within 2.3X10**6 KM (32 jovian radii), moving at 21 km/sec. Nearest approach occurred at -8 deg. latitude, lifting New Horizons 2.5 degrees out of the plane of the solar system.

The craft is powered by a radiothermal generator (RTG) and has a 2.1 m high-gain antenna. Data from the Long Range Reconnaisance Imager (LORRI), Ralph that is composed of two parts, a visible CCD imager (MVIC) and a near-infrared imaging spectrometer (LEISA), an ultraviolet imaging spectrometer (Alice), a toroidal electrostatic analyzer and retarding potential analyzer (SWAP), a time-of-flight ion and electron sensor (PEPSSI) and the Radio Science Experiment (REX) were obtained at Jupiter.

Basic Mission Goals
Basic Goals of the NEW HORIZONS mission are to:
  • Characterize the global geology and morphology of Pluto and Charon
  • Map the surface composition of Pluto and Charon
  • Characterize the neutral atmosphere of Pluto and its escape rate

Acquisition of data at Jupiter was an add-on.

For more information on the New Horizons Mission see the following:

Also See Space Sci Rev (2008) 140: 49–74, New Horizons Mission Design. Yanping Guo and Robert W. Farquhar

Also see Sci Rev (2008) 140: 23–47, DOI 10.1007/s11214-008-9374-8. Glen Fountain, et al., The New Horizons Spacecraft.
Space Sci Rev (2008) 140: 93–127. DOI 10.1007/s11214-008-9462-9, Leslie Young, et al., New Horizons: Anticipated Scientific Investigations at the Pluto System
Space Sci Rev (2008) 140: 75–91, DOI 10.1007/s11214-008-9376-6. H.A. Weaver, et al., Overview of the New Horizons Science Payload

Instruments and Data

Follow the instrument links above to find information about the New Horizons data products online. For a brief overview of each instrument's parameters, consult the table below.

Instrument Name
Wavelength / Energy / Mass Range
Field of View (milliradians)
Angular resolution (milliradians / pixel)
Wavelength / Energy / Mass Resolution per pixel
Dates of Observations in this Data Release
Alice: Ultraviolet mapping spectrometer Alan Stern, SwRI 52 - 180  nm 1.7x 70 (slit). 35 x 35 (solar occultation aperture) 1.7 x 5.2 0.183 nm 02/22/07 - 03/04/07
LORRI: Long-Range Reconnaisance Imager Andy Cheng, APL 350 - 850nm 5.08 x 5.08 0.00496  N/A 02/21/07 - 03/07/07
Ralph MVIC: Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera Alan Stern, SwRI 450 - 1000nm (Pan);
425 - 550nm (Blue);
 540 - 700nm (Red); 780 - 1000nm (IR);
 860 - 910 nm (CH4)
Multicolor: 100 x N (pushbroom).  OpNav, pan only: 100 x 2.6 (framing)   0.02 See filter bandpasses 02/25/07 - 03/03/07
Ralph LEISA (Linear Etalon Imaging Spectral Array): Infrared spectrometer Alan Stern, SwRI 1250 - 2500 nm 15.9 x 15.9 0.062 Full spectral range: R=300
(~6.5 nm / pixel).
2100 - 2250 nm: R=600
(~3.7 nm / pixel).
02/24/07 - 03/03/07
REX: Radio Science Experiment Len Tyler Stanford University 4.1 cm. 20 20 Radiometry mode: N/A.  Occultation mode: 3 x 10-13 in Δf/f  
SDC: Student Dust Counter Mihaly Horanyi, U. Colorado 4x10-12  -  4x10-9 g ~p N/A ~ factor of 2 in mass  04/04/07 - 06/27/07
PEPSSI (Pluto Energetic Particle Spectrometer Science Investigation): Medium energy particle spectrometer Ralph McNutt, APL 25 - 1000 keV (protons); 60-1000 keV (atomic ions) ;
25 - 500 keV (electrons)
160 deg x 12 deg 25 x 12 deg 0.25 keV 01/05/07 - 06/20/07
SWAP (Solar Wind Around Pluto): Low energy plasma instrument  Dave McComas, SwRI 30 eV - 7.7 keV 270 deg x 10 deg (deflection angles up to +15 deg additional) N/A 1 eV (<2 keV)
9% (>2 keV)
01/07/07 - 06/19/07

Table adapted from New Horizons Mission Instrument Suite website.

Archive datasets
Each of the following archived data sets contain documentation of the data, individual data collections of raw,\ and calibrated data complete with calibration information where applicable.

ALICE is an imaging spectrometer with a spectroscopic range of 500 to 1,800 Angstroms.

RALPH consists of three panchromatic (black-and-white) and four color imagers inside its Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera (MVIC) and an infrared compositional mapping spectrometer, the Linear Etalon Imaging Spectral Array (LEISA).

REX consists of a small printed circuit board integrated into the New Horizons telecommunications system.

LORRI is a panchromatic high-magnification imager.

SWAP measures the solar wind

PEPSSI is a directional energetic particle spectrometer. It will search for neutral atoms that escape the atmosphere and become charged by their interaction with the solar

SDC is a student built dust detector.

Publications - A listing of team members to facilitate literature searches.