NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft which was flown by Pluto in July 2015 has finally woken up today from hibernation mode. This was done in preparation for the next rendezvous with the space rock at the edge of the Solar System. The vehicle has come out of its slumber 3.7 billion miles from the Earth, and it speeds away towards an icy body which was named as Ultima Thule. It orbits around the Sun, and it is beyond Neptune. As the spacecraft is awake and the mission team has a full schedule throughout the 2018 year and the flyby scheduled on January 1st, 2019.
The New Horizons spacecraft was in and out of hibernation for at least two times since April 2017. When the spacecraft was in hibernation mode, the spacecraft usually run by the autopilot and only some of the essential components and some other instruments get powered on. There is also a work of a long list of commands which get uploaded to the spacecraft’s memory, and it snoozes off. This was done so that the spacecraft wear and tear will be saved and it will also minimize the amount of work that the mission team has done form the ground.
According to Alice Bowman. Who is the mission operations manager said to the Verge that we got a small team and when we have put the spacecraft into hibernation, it takes less time for us and to operate New Horizons, we can spend for developing the command set for the flyby?
For the next two and half months, the spacecraft will be undergoing some tests and uploading of new software and also includes any scientific data that are collected during the hibernation and data leftover in the recorder of the spacecraft.