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New Horizons Mission Systems Engineer Answers Your Questions

Mission System Engineer David Kusnierkiewicz David Kusnierkiewicz
Mission Systems Engineer
Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

Note: All videos provided in Real Player format are Closed Captioned.

1. Our first question comes from Peter from Switzerland. Could you tell me the speed of New Horizons before and after the Jupiter fly-by?

2. Our next question comes from Dmitry from Melbourne. Voyager has Intel 4004 processors onboard. What kind of CPUs are onboard of New Horizons?
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3. Pawan from Sharjah has a few interesting questions to ask. The first question is: What type of communication systems have been set up in the spacecraft to send data back to Earth from such a long distance?
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4. His next question is: Could you tell me more about the guidance system on the spacecraft, as there is a big possibility that it could collide with a Kuiper Belt object; and how much time will a signal take to reach the spacecraft? Also, how are the scientists going to guide it through the Kuiper Belt?
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5. His last question is: If New Horizons is going to reach Pluto in 2015, I want to know what kind of manpower will be used because children who are 15 to 16 years old today are going to be the ones who will then control the spacecraft. So is there a plan about how the mission will be carried out in the future, because many of the scientists who are now working on the mission won't be present at the time when the spacecraft reaches Pluto?
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6. Our next question comes from Junichi from Japan. Is New Horizons spacecraft going to drop a lander on the surface of Pluto and/or Charon to explore them?
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7. Nathan from Aurora: Since New Horizons is nuclear powered and it will be capable of transmitting useful data after completing its original mission, as the Voyager probes did...If so, how many extra years could the probe function?
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8. Mohit from Sharjah has two questions he'd like answered. The first one is: Are there any plans for the spacecraft to make a fly-by past Sedna or Sedna, or will the spacecraft lose communication with Earth by that time because it is twice the distance between Pluto and Earth?
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9. His second question is: Will the course of the spacecraft be changed in a, in case a new planet is found during the period 2006-2015 and which can be approached by the spacecraft; and, if so, then how will the change be done?
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10. Durwin from Sacramento: Is New Horizons spin-stabilized as was Pioneer 10/11? If not, what method is used?
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11. Matthew from Big Lake: What factors influenced you to design the spacecraft like this and what materials is New Horizons made up of?
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12. Our last question comes from Jarred from Pensacola. Without the slingshot boost from Jupiter, what would be the normal time for New Horizons to reach Pluto?
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