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MEDIA EVENTS FOR NEW HORIZONS FLYBY OF ULTIMA THULE, Dec 31, 2018, 2:00, 3:00, and 8:00 pm ET (webcast)

The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) is mission control for the New Horizons spacecraft’s flyby of the Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) nicknamed Ultima Thule.  New Horizons flew past Pluto in 2015 and is continuing on its flight path, which is taking it near this tiny KBO, which is just 37 kilometers in diameter.

The spacecraft’s closest approach to Ultima Thule is at 12:33 am January 1, 2019.  It takes 6 hours 7 minutes and 58 seconds for a signal to travel back to Earth, thus mission controllers will not know the spacecraft’s status until mid-morning that day.

Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab (APL) is mission control for the flyby and is planning a series of press conferences, all of which will be webcast by APL and broadcast on NASA TV if the agency is open (it is currently shutdown due to a lapse in funding).

The APL webcast is on YouTube.

  • December 28, 2018, 1:00-1:30 pm ET, preview of the spacecraft and science operations
  • December 31, 2018,
    • 2:00 pm ET, Media Briefing
    • 3:00 pm ET, Q&A with New Horizons Teams
    • 8:00 pm ET, Panel Discussion: New Horizons Flyby of Ultima Thule
  • January 1, 2019,
    • 12:15 am ET, Closest Approach to Ultima Thule
    • 10:00 am ET, Signal Acquisition from Ultima Thule
    • 11:30 am ET, Post-Flyby Press Conference
  • January 2, 2019, 2:00 pm ET, Science Briefing Results
  • January 3, 2019, 2:00 pm ET, Science Briefing Results


December 31, 2018
2:00 pm - 11:00 pm