Spacecraft Closing in on Pluto Hits Speed Bump, But Recovers

Posted at 4:47 PM, Jul 06, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-06 16:47:00-04

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) - NASA's New Horizons spacecraft is on track to sweep past Pluto next week despite hitting a "speed bump" that temporarily halted science collection.

A computer overload prompted the spacecraft to partially shut down on July 4th - just days before the first-ever close flyby of Pluto. Flight controllers managed to regain contact with the spacecraft in just over an hour, and correct the situation.

About 2½ days of science observations were lost because of the problem. That represents about 30 observations out of 500 planned over the next week. New Horizons will pass closest to Pluto on July 14.

Principal scientist Alan Stern said Monday it was more important to recover the spacecraft than worry about some lost observations of a Pluto still millions of miles away.