The First Purposefully Multi-generational Space Mission

Editor's note: I went over to the Udvar Hazy Annex of the National Air and Space Museum this evening for a reception honoring the New Horizons Mission. Specifically, the reception honored the placing of a high fidelity model of the New Horizons spacecraft in the museum - now suspended from the ceiling, aft of Space Shuttle Enterprise.

During the dedication ceremony, we all learned from PI Alan Stern that the spacecraft was carrying a number of items, some of which had previously not been formally announced: some of Pluto discoverer Clyde Tombaugh's ashes, state quarters from Maryland and Florida, two CDs - one with over 400,000 names - the other with family photos of the New Horizons team, the US postal service stamp from 1991 saying "not yet explored", a concept design for another stamp noting the New Horizons mission, and a piece of Burt Rutan's SpaceShip One.

Listening to the various presentations, it was quite clear that this was a family endeavor - as well as an endeavor of families - and generations. The people who worked long hours on this mission needed support from their families - while younger mission personnel are being groomed to be involved in 2015 - and beyond - when New Horizons reaches its prime target - and possibly future targets during extended mission operations. New Horizons is perhaps the first purposefully multi-generational space mission, the twin Voyagers having unexpectedly blazed that trail by virtue of good design and immense ingenuity.

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on October 17, 2008 9:49 PM.

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