NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft which was sent to observe dwarf planet Pluto, faced a glitch. It then went into automatic safe mode to protect itself and suspended its operations. NASA had confirmed that they will be able to restore it to normalcy with the help of signals coming from Mission Operations Centre as the antenna which was facing the Earth was alive.
The New Horizons is now healthy and directing towards its next target as confirmed by the US space agency. Its next target is Kuiper Belt object 2014 MU69. The agency has also confirmed that its operations have been restored to full and will resume its scientific data collection. The team hopes to restore New Horizons spacecraft back to normalcy by Sunday.
The New Horizons spacecraft mission is quite beneficial to scientists as it is helping them to understand the edge of our solar system by exploring the small planet Pluto and also the study of distant Kuiper Belt that may be of help in providing information about the formation of solar system. It was launched on January 19, 2006.
New Horizons completed a short propulsive maneuver on February 1, 2017 in order to clarify its track toward New Year’s Day flyby past 2014 MU69, a Kuiper Belt object (KBO) some 4 billion miles from Earth. But on Thursday, February 9, 2017, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft underwent into a protective “safe mode,” due to a command-loading error that occurred early Thursday.
It returned back to normalcy after it followed instructions from the Mission Operations Center at the John 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 antenna time,” said Alice Bowman, New Horizons mission operations manager at APL.