The countdown is proceeding toward today's launch of NASA's New Horizons spacecraft aboard an Atlas V launch vehicle. Today's forecast for Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida calls for an 80% chance of favorable weather, and no technical issues with the rocket or spacecraft are in work at this time.
Launch was delayed yesterday due to a power outage at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md., where the New Horizons spacecraft will be operated in flight. Power has since been restored.
As the first spacecraft to visit Pluto and its moon Charon, New Horizons looks to unlock one of the solar system's last, great planetary secrets. After launch aboard an Atlas V, the New Horizons spacecraft will cross the entire span of the solar system and conduct flyby studies of Pluto and its moon, Charon, in 2015. The seven science instruments on the piano-sized probe will shed light on the bodies' surface properties, geology, interior makeup and atmospheres.
Two programmed built-in holds are scheduled for the countdown. The expected liftoff time is 1:08 p.m., which is at the start of a two-hour window that extends to 3:07 p.m.