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NASA Announces Updated Television Coverage, Media Activities for Pluto Flyby

NASA is inviting media to cover the New Horizons spacecraft’s closest approach and July 14 Pluto flyby from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, site of the mission operations center.

NASA will provide flyby coverage on NASA Television, the agency’s website and its social media accounts as the spacecraft closes in on Pluto in the coming days. The schedule for event coverage is subject to change, with daily updates posted online and in the New Horizons Media Center at APL.

On-site media registration is now closed, however, walk-in media representatives may be accommodated on a case-by-case basis.

The New Horizons Media Center opens at APL from 1 to 7 p.m. EDT on July 12. Accredited media may pick up credentials during those hours and Monday and Tuesday morning. Credentials must be picked up in person and valid photo identification must be shown. Non-US citizens must bring their passport and visa or a permanent resident alien registration card. The media center number is 240-228-8532. 

The media center also will be open from 7 a.m. to midnight on July 13, 5 a.m. to midnight on July 14, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on July 15, and 7 a.m. to noon on July 16. Hours of operation are subject to change.

Visitor and logistics information is available online at:

Highlights of the current coverage schedule, all in Eastern time, include:

July 8 – 10
11:30 a.m. – Final approach to Pluto; daily mission updates on NASA TV

July 11 – 12
11:30 a.m. – Final approach to Pluto; live mission updates on NASA TV

Monday, July 13
10:30 to 11:30 a.m.– Media briefing: Mission Status and What to Expect; live on NASA TV

2:30 to 5:30 p.m. – Panels: APL’s Endeavors in Space and the latest on New Horizons (no NASA TV coverage)

Tuesday, July 14
7:30 to 8 a.m. – Arrival at Pluto Countdown Program; live on NASA TV

At approximately 7:49 a.m., New Horizons is scheduled to be as close as the spacecraft will get to Pluto, approximately 7,800 miles (12,500 kilometers) above the surface, after a journey of more than nine years and three billion miles. For much of the day, New Horizons will be out of communication with mission control as it gathers data about Pluto and its moons.

The moment of closest approach will be marked during the live NASA TV broadcast that includes a countdown and discussion of what’s expected next as New Horizons makes its way past Pluto and potentially dangerous debris.

8 to 9 a.m. – Media briefing, image release; live on NASA TV

9 a.m. to noon – Interview Opportunities (no NASA TV coverage)

Informal group briefings and availability for one-on-one interviews. An updated schedule will be posted in the New Horizons Media Center. Media may call into the media center for phone interviews during newsroom hours.

Noon to 3 p.m. – Panel Discussions (no NASA TV coverage)

  • New Horizons mission overview and history
  • Pluto system discoveries on approach
  • Mariner 4 and Pluto: 50 years to the day

8:30 to 9:15 p.m. – NASA TV program, Phone Home, broadcast from APL Mission Control

NASA TV will share the suspenseful moments of this historic event with the public and museums around the world. The New Horizons spacecraft will send a preprogrammed signal after the closest approach. The mission team on Earth should receive the signal by about 9:02 p.m. When New Horizons “phones home,” there will be a celebration of its successful flyby and the anticipation of data to come in the days and months ahead.  

9:30 to 10 p.m. – Media Briefing: New Horizons Health and Mission Status; live on NASA TV

Wednesday, July 15
Noon to 3 p.m. – Interview Opportunities (no NASA TV coverage)

Informal group briefings and availability for one-on-one interviews. An updated schedule will be posted in the New Horizons Media Center. Media may call into the media center for phone interviews during newsroom hours.

3 to 4 p.m. – Media Briefing: Seeing Pluto in a New Light; live on NASA TV

Release of close-up images of Pluto’s surface and moons, along with initial science team reactions.

New Horizons is the first mission to the Kuiper Belt, a gigantic zone of icy bodies and mysterious small objects orbiting beyond Neptune. This region also is known as the “third” zone of our solar system, beyond the inner rocky planets and outer gas giants.

APL designed, built and operates the New Horizons spacecraft, and manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio leads the science team, payload operations and encounter science planning. New Horizons is part of the New Frontiers Program, managed by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

For NASA TV schedules, satellite coordinates, and links to streaming video, visit:

The public can follow the path of the spacecraft in coming days in real time with a visualization of the actual trajectory data, using NASA’s online Eyes on Pluto.

Follow the New Horizons mission on Twitter and use the hashtag #PlutoFlyby to join the conversation. Live updates will be available on the mission Facebook page.

For more information on the New Horizons mission, including fact sheets, schedules, video and images, visit:



Dwayne Brown / Laurie Cantillo
Headquarters, Washington
202-358-1726 / 202-358-1077 /
Mike Buckley
Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Md.
Maria Stothoff
Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio