From: Johns Hopkins University APL New Horizons Mission
Posted: Friday, September 4, 2009
We put New Horizons back into hibernation last week, on Aug. 27. This event signaled the completion of our third active spacecraft and payload checkout, which occupied us for most of July and August. Active Checkout Three ("ACO-3") went very well, its objectives completed with no serious glitches. Our spacecraft and payload are healthy, on course and ready for a set of three hibernation periods that will stretch into late May. Twice during the next nine months we'll wake the spacecraft up for about 10 days at a time to re-point its antenna toward Earth and conduct a few minor maintenance activities.
The first of these two wakeups will occur Nov. 9-18. Until then, New Horizons will report in with status beacon checks every Monday and telemetry sessions every other Thursday that update us on key spacecraft engineering parameters. Meanwhile, our science and flight teams are reviewing ACO-3 data, scoping the list of activities for next summer's ACO-4 (already!) and finalizing our Pluto near-encounter activities sequence. The science team is also planning a selection process for teams to search for our target Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs); proposals will be due early next year, with searches to take place in 2011 and 2012. And we've also been planning a science workshop at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore next May.
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