New Horizons 6-Day Launch Slip

Space.com has the info.

Late last week it was announced that New Horizons was rescheduled for liftoff no earlier than January 17, 2006. That six day slip was called to support additional inspection of the booster for the Pluto-bound spacecraft, a Lockheed Martin Atlas launch vehicle. The booster-for-hire company experienced problems in September on an updated Atlas propellant tank similar to the one being flown on the New Horizons mission.

Originally scheduled for Jan. 11, 2006, New Horizons has a 35 day launch window to begin its flight to Pluto and Charon. However, because the vehicle uses Jupiter (a moving target) to boost it in the right direction at greater speed, it really helps if we get the bird off as early as possible.

Still, nobody (but nobody!) wants to see a failed launch either. If it increases the chances of success, we’ll take the delay.

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