New Horizons is a space probe launched by NASA on 19 January 2006, to the dwarf planet Pluto and on an escape trajectory from the Sun. It is the first man-made spacecraft to go to Pluto. Its flight took nine years. It arrived at the Pluto-Charon system on July 14, 2015. It flew near Pluto and took photographs and measurements while it passed. At about 1 kilobit per second, it took 15 months to transmit them back to Earth.
Instruments include a Long-Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI), a Ralph telescope of 75 mm aperture, an Alice ultraviolet imaging spectrometer, a Particle Spectrometer Suite to study solar wind and particles, a student dust counter (VBSDC), and a Radio Science Experiment (REX).
The primary mission of New Horizons is to study Pluto and its system of moons. The secondary mission is to study any objects in the Kuiper Belt, if something became available for a flyby.
The space probe set the record for the fastest man-made object ever launched, with the Earth-relative speed of about 16.26 km/s, although, arguably, the Helios probes got a faster Sun-relative speed. It used a gravity assist from Jupiter to get its high speeds without having to burn as much monopropellant (weak rocket fuel) as needed to fly directly to Pluto.
On January 1, 2019 the probe flew by 486958 Arrokoth, a small Kuiper Belt object also called 2014 MU69 and nicknamed "Ultima Thule". Propellant is now scarce, but a target for a third flyby might be found. It will continue to report about its environment.
The New Horizons spacecraft is the 5th spacecraft that'll be able to exit the solar sytem. On April 17, 2021, it passed a milestone distance 50 AU from the Sun. In 2048, it'll be the 5th spacecraft, after Voyager 1, Voyager 2, Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11 to exit the heliosphere and enter interstellar space. In 22nd century, the New Horizons spacecraft will overtake Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11 to become the 3rd farthest spacecraft from Earth, but will never overtake Voyager 1 or Voyager 2 as the farthest spacecraft from Earth.
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