The New Horizons mission is groundbreaking. It is the first:
- mission to Pluto.
- mission to a double planet (Pluto and Charon).
- mission to an ice dwarf planet.
- spacecraft mission to an unexplored planet since the Voyager missions in the 1970s.
- mission to study Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs).
- planetary mission to carry a student-built instrument (SDC – Venetia Burney Student Dust Counter).
- outer planets mission led by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JUAPL) and the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI).
- mission in NASA’s New Frontiers program.
A Speed Record
Another record was set when the New Horizons spacecraft was launched at a speed of 16.26 km/s (10.10 miles/s) from the Kennedy Space Center on January 9, 2006. This was the fastest ever spacecraft launch from Earth.