Alan Stern on "The 15th Anniversary of New Horizons Leaving Earth"

New Horizons is healthy and continues to send data back from the Kuiper Belt, even as it speeds farther and farther from the Earth and the Sun.

But the mission's jam-packed plans for new Kuiper Belt exploration this year are not the subject of this PI Perspective. Instead, I want to concentrate on a very special anniversary, taking place today - our 15th anniversary of launch!

That's right, New Horizons lifted into skies above the Florida coast -from the same Cape Canaveral pad used to launch NASA's storied Voyagers-at 2 pm Eastern Time on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2006. I witnessed the launch from the launch control center and gave my final "GO" as the mission principal investigator to proceed less than a minute before our Atlas V rocket ignited.