New Horizons:  into the Kuiper belt

New Horizons:  into the Kuiper belt

NASA’s New Horizons is the first mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt. The New Horizons spacecraft was launched on 19 January 2006, made a historic flight through the Pluto system on 14 July 2015, and is now less than a year away from a 1 January 2019, flyby of 2014 MU69, an ancient Kuiper Belt object (KBO) and building block of the Solar System. This next encounter takes New Horizons one billion miles (1.6 billion kilometres) beyond Pluto for its rendezvous with “MU69,” which was identified by the powerful Hubble Space Telescope. The extended mission before and after the MU69 flyby also includes distant studies of other KBOs, and heliospheric dust and plasma science as far out as 50 astronomical units from the sun. Alice Bowman, the New Horizons Mission Operations Manager (MOM), will speak about this incredible voyage of discovery, describing the technical and operational challenges of performing a close flyby of a 20-30 mile-diameter object discovered just 3.5 years ago. The New Horizons close encounter with MU69 will be the farthest planetary encounter ever.



Alice Bowman is a member of the Principal Professional Staff at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland. She leads APL's Space Mission Operations Group, supervising approximately 44 staff who operate deep-space and Earth-orbiting spacecraft.  Additionally, she serves as Mission Operations Manager (MOM) for NASA's New Horizons mission. Ms. Bowman's experience includes national defense space operations, systems engineering, program management, engineering management, space systems and space instrument development and deployment. Ms. Bowman holds a bachelor's degree in physics and chemistry from the University of Virginia, Charlottesville.  She is a senior member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and has served on the International SpaceOps Committee since 2009. 

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