New Horizons is a NASA space probe launched to study the dwarf planet Pluto, its natural satellites and one or two Kuiper Belt objects, depending on which are in position to be explored. Part of the New Frontiers program, the mission was approved in 2001 following the cancellation of the Pluto Fast Flyby and Pluto Kuiper Express. The mission profile was proposed by a team led by principal investigator Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute. After several delays on the launch site, New Horizons was launched on 19 January 2006 from Cape Canaveral. Launched directly into an Earth-and-solar-escape trajectory with an Earth-relative velocity of about 16.26 km/s (58,536 km/h; 36,373 mph), it set the record for the highest velocity of a human-made object from Earth.

Key mission dates

14 Jul 2015 Flyby of Pluto, Charon, Hydra, Nix, Kerberos and Styx
2016–20 Possible flyby of one or more Kuiper belt objects (KBOs)
2026 Expected end of the mission
2038 New Horizons will be 100 AU from the Sun.

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