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Published 05 June 2005 By I-Newswire ( New Horizons - The PI’s Perspective:
A Nation’s Expedition to the Edge of the Solar System
Most people think of New Horizons as being from Maryland, since the spacecraft was designed, assembled and tested at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab (APL) there, and once in flight, the spacecraft will be operated from APL. But while New Horizons’ Maryland roots are deep, the spacecraft could not be built and launched without contributions from every region of the United States.[1]

For example, the spacecraft structure comes equally from the Swales and Canyon corporations, in Maryland and California, respectively.  Our propulsion systems come from the Aerojet Corporation in Washington state.  Our spacecraft gyros were built by Honeywell Corporation in Florida, and our radio transmitter tubes were built by Thales Corporation in New Jersey.  The high-gain antenna was performance tested by Ohio State University.  Our Sun sensors were built by Adcole Corporation, in Massachusetts.  Power converters for the spacecraft’s computers were built in Georgia, by Space Power Electronics Corporation.

Our instrument payload was designed and built by workers at APL in Maryland, SSG Optics Inc. in New York, Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in Texas, Sensor Sciences and Stanford University in California, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, Rockwell Corporation in California, the University of Colorado, and Ball Corporation in Colorado.  Science team co-investigators hail from Arizona, Colorado, California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, Texas and Virginia.

Our Education and Public Outreach partners come from places as diverse as Alabama, Colorado, Maine, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Washington state.

Of course, NASA installations across the U.S. played key roles as well.  Program oversight is provided by NASA Headquarters in Washington and Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama.  Science team members come from NASA’s Ames Research Center in California.  Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station work together to provide launch base facilities and technical expertise.  Technical reviewers were supplied by NASA Langley, NASA Marshall, NASA Goddard, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).  The Goddard Space Flight Center not only contributes science team expertise, but also provides the main space-environment test site for the spacecraft.  And much of the spacecraft software was verified by NASA workers based at a software analysis center in West Virginia.

The Department of Energy and its contractors in Washington, Ohio, Idaho, Pennsylvania and New Mexico are responsible for the design, construction, fueling, and testing of our power generator.  JPL, the SAIC Corporation, Tetra Tech NUS, and other organizations played roles as well.

And our launcher is being designed by Lockheed Martin, Boeing and ATK corporations - with relevant people and facilities in Colorado and California - with manufacturing and assembly in Alabama and Colorado, and with launch support, of course, in Florida.  Important contributions to the launcher also come from Virginia and Washington state.

The spacecraft will be tracked by the Deep Space Network, which is operated from JPL in Southern California, and navigated by experienced orbital mechanicians located at KinetX Corporation, also in Southern California.

This list of contributors to New Horizons involves many states, corporations, universities and other entities - but it would be far longer if I included the vendors that sold us individual parts.  In all, thousands of people, with locations in most of the 50 states, have contributed to building, testing, and operating New Horizons in one way or another.

As the mission PI, I speak for the entire team when I say we are thankful and indebted to each and every person, every firm, every university, and every government agency who contributed to making this great voyage of exploration to the outer solar system reach its current state of development, and we look forward to the best that is yet to come.

As a result of all of these contributions?  whether they be time or toil, money or manpower?  New Horizons can truly be called America’s expedition to the edge of our planetary system.  I and the entire New Horizons team are also indebted to the citizens of all 50 United States, who made New Horizons possible by funding this important expedition.

[1] A few contributions have even come from overseas, notably from England (several onboard CCD detectors), France (our UV optics), Switzerland (our rocket fairing), Italy (our star trackers), and Japan (telescope time to search for candidate Kuiper Belt Object targets).
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