The Atlas V rocket that will carry the New Horizons spacecraft was successfully tested yesterday during a launch pad "Wet Dress Rehearsal." The rehearsal was a countdown test with the launch vehicle fully loaded with propellants, including RP-1 fuel, liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen. The fifth and last solid rocket booster was mated to the Atlas V on Nov. 29.
At the Kennedy Space Center's Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility, Spacecraft Autonomy
Testing to ensure New Horizon's ability to function without commands from Earth was successfully completed.
The Boeing third stage, the upper stage booster for the spacecraft's escape from low-Earth orbit, was delivered to the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility on Dec. 1 as scheduled. The spacecraft will be mated to the third stage on Friday, Dec. 9.
Hydrazine fuel for attitude control and course-correction maneuvers was loaded into the spacecraft on Dec. 4. The "wet" spin-balance test with fuel aboard is scheduled for today and tomorrow. Encapsulation of the spacecraft into the Atlas V fairing is scheduled on Dec. 12,
followed by transportation to Complex 41 on Dec. 16.
The New Horizons mission to Pluto is scheduled to launch from Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL, on Jan. 11. The launch window is 2:11 - 4:07 p.m. EST.