Upon awakening, the spacecraft worked normally and with all the systems recovered, which allows to forecast that on January 1, 2019, it will flyby Ultima Thule, said Alice Bowman, New Horizons’ mission operations manager.
For the journey, the scientists collected navigation tracking data and already sent the first of many commands to the New Horizons’s computer to begin preparations for the flyby.
This process includes memory updates, a series of scientific instrument records and the recovery of data from the Kuiper Belt, the vast field of waste coming from the Solar System formation.
Bowman reported that next August the spacecraft will initiate distant observations, images that will help refine the course.
The information gathered in this expedition will allow the scientific community to learn more about how the planets were built, said the expert.
In 2015, the New Horizons -the third fastest man-made spacecraft after the Voyager twins- made a historic flight over Pluto and its moons.
The spacecraft will remain active until the end of 2020, after it transmits all the data of the mission and complete other scientific observations about the Kuiper Belt.
Ultima Thule was discovered in June 2014 by the Hubble Space Telescope, during a preliminary inspection to find a suitable destination for the New Horizons’ flyby.