On to New Horizons

New HorizonsIn response to a NASA request for mission proposals a month earlier, Southwest Research Institute scientist Dr. Alan Stern and a group of other scientists and engineers who had been working on the now-cancelled Pluto-Kuiper Express mission submit a nearly-identical proposal to NASA for a Pluto/Kuiper Belt mission called New Horizons. Very much like Pluto-Kuiper Express, New Horizons calls for a single small spacecraft to launch early in the 21st century, and, after a gravity assist from a Jupiter flyby, a Pluto encounter 10-11 years after launch. Some of the program costs are streamlined in the new proposal to make this iteration of the long-delayed Pluto mission more appealing to NASA, although New Horizons would carry more scientific payload than any previously envisioned Pluto expedition. Another proposal, Pluto and Outer Solar System Explorer (POSSE), is also submitted to NASA.