Thanksgiving anche per New Horizons

A Season for Thanksgiving
Alan Stern
November 22, 2006

It’s Thanksgiving and I just want to wish everyone a great Thanksgiving
holiday. We sure have no shortage of things to be thankful for on this

A year ago today we had a spacecraft on the ground in the Payload
Hazardous Servicing Facility at Kennedy Space Center, a booster rocket
with RP-1 tank problems, an autonomy system that was considered
and dozens of other like issues to deal with just to get to launch. In
fact, exactly a year ago today, New Horizons Project Manager Glen
Fountain and I were in Daytona and other central Florida locales with
KSC folks and New Horizons Program Executive Kurt Lindstrom talking to
the editorial board of the local paper to allay concerns about the
upcoming January nuclear launch we were planning. Fueling the
with hydrazine was just around the corner, and we had an appointment at
LC-41 just three weeks away. Everything about flight ops seemed
impending but somehow theoretical with that big launch of a new Atlas V
variant looming in our future.

Today we’re 4.4 Astronomical Units from the Sun and 5.3 AU from the
Earth, speeding on to another appointment - this one at Jupiter - just
under 100 days hence. Our spacecraft is right on course and in fine
shape, as is its scientific payload. We have an operations team that
settled in and impressed people across the project and at NASA with
their skills. We have more fuel aboard than anyone rightfully deserved
to expect, and our spacecraft has flown 300-plus days without a single
“Go Safe.” And these things just scratch the surface of what we can be
thankful for.

So, from the PI to all of you, Happy Thanksgiving, and thanks for all
you have done and all you are doing to make this dream mission come
true. I hope you all have a great, long weekend with family and friends
while New Horizons quietly passes through solar conjunction.

Best Wishes,
Alan Stern