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New Horizons Spacecraft Healthy After Hiccup, Says NASA

NASA said its New Horizons spacecraft is healthy and operating normally after just over 24 hours in a protective "safe mode".

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Updated:February 11, 2017, 1:07 PM IST
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New Horizons Spacecraft Healthy After Hiccup, Says NASA
After Revealing Saturn, Cassini Set For Final Dive on September 15 (Image: Reuters)
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NASA said its New Horizons spacecraft is healthy and operating normally after just over 24 hours in a protective "safe mode" -- the result of a command-loading error that occurred this week.

The spacecraft is designed to automatically transition to safe mode under certain anomalous conditions to protect itself from harm.

In safe mode, the spacecraft suspends its timeline of activities and keeps its antenna pointed toward Earth to listen for instructions from the Mission Operations Center at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland.

"Our rapid recovery was supported by other NASA missions that provided New Horizons with some of their valuable Deep Space Network (DSN) antenna time," said Alice Bowman, New Horizons mission operations manager at APL.

New Horizons is healthy and continues to speed along toward its next target - the Kuiper Belt object 2014 MU69 - while its operations team works to restore it to full operations and resume scientific data collection, the US space agency said.

Due to the 10.5-hour round trip communications delay that results from operating a spacecraft more than 5.7 billion kilometeres from Earth, the team expects New Horizons to be back on its activities timeline early Sunday.

The New Horizons mission was launched on January 19, 2006 with the aim of helping us understand worlds at the edge of our solar system by making the first reconnaissance of the dwarf planet Pluto and by venturing deeper into the distant, mysterious Kuiper Belt -- a relic of solar system formation.

(Get detailed and live results of each and every seat in the Lok Sabha elections and state Assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim to know which candidate/party is leading or trailing and to know who has won and who has lost and by what margin. Our one-of-its-kind Election Analytics Centre lets you don a psephologist’s hat and turn into an election expert. Know interesting facts and trivia about the elections and see our informative graphics. Elections = News18)
| Edited by: Krishna Sinha Chaudhury
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