Handling dating competition

New Horizons body forms a triangle, almost 0.76 m (2.5 ft) thick.

(The Pioneers have hexagonal bodies, whereas the Voyagers, Galileo, and Cassini–Huygens have decagonal, hollow bodies.) A 7075 aluminium alloy tube forms the main structural column, between the launch vehicle adapter ring at the "rear," and the 2.1 m (6 ft 11 in) radio dish antenna affixed to the "front" flat side. The RTG attaches with a 4-sided titanium mount resembling a gray pyramid or stepstool. The rest of the triangle is primarily sandwich panels of thin aluminium facesheet (less than in or 0.40 mm) bonded to aluminium honeycomb core.

Navigation is performed at various contractor facilities, whereas the navigational positional data and related celestial reference frames are provided by the Naval Observatory Flagstaff Station through Headquarters NASA and JPL; Kinet X is the lead on the New Horizons navigation team and is responsible for planning trajectory adjustments as the spacecraft speeds toward the outer Solar System.Stamatios "Tom" Krimigis, head of the Applied Physics Laboratory's space division, one of many entrants in the New Frontiers Program competition, formed the New Horizons team with Alan Stern in December 2000.Appointed as the project's principal investigator, Stern was described by Krimigis as "the personification of the Pluto mission".Coincidentally the Naval Observatory Flagstaff Station was where the photographic plates were taken for the discovery of Pluto's moon Charon; and the Naval Observatory is itself not far from the Lowell Observatory where Pluto was discovered.New Horizons was originally planned as a voyage to the only unexplored planet in the Solar System.The other finalist, POSSE (Pluto and Outer Solar System Explorer), was a separate, but similar Pluto mission concept by the University of Colorado Boulder, led by principal investigator Larry W.Esposito, and supported by the JPL, Lockheed Martin and the University of California.the spacecraft was launched in 2006 with the primary mission to perform a flyby study of the Pluto system in 2015, and a secondary mission to fly by and study one or more other Kuiper belt objects (KBOs) in the decade to follow.It is the fifth artificial object to achieve the escape velocity that will allow them to leave the Solar System.Funding for the mission was finally secured following the publication of the report, and Stern's team were finally able to start building the spacecraft and its instruments, with a planned launch in January 2006 and arrival at Pluto in 2015.New Horizons is the first mission in NASA's New Frontiers mission category, larger and more expensive than the Discovery missions but smaller than the Flagship Program.

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