The New Horizons Instrument Suite

Glen H. Fountain, Harold A. Weaver, Dennis C. Reuter, S. Alan Stern, Ivan R. Linscott, David J. McComas, Matthew E. Hill, Mihály Horányi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The New Horizons science payload consists of seven instruments-three optical instruments, two plasma instruments, a dust sensor, and a radio science receiver/radiometer. These instruments were designed to withstand the cold conditions and low light levels in the Kuiper Belt so they could investigate the global geology, surface composition and temperature, and the atmospheric pressure, temperature, and escape rate of Pluto and its moons. The same payload was used to explore Arrokoth, the most distant object ever targeted for a flyby. The instrument suite is highly power efficient and represents a degree of miniaturization that is unprecedented in planetary exploration. This article describes the instruments and how they met challenging mission requirements with resounding success, making groundbreaking measurements and returning data that continues to shed light on the mysterious planets and smaller bodies of the outer solar system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34-48
Number of pages15
JournalJohns Hopkins APL Technical Digest (Applied Physics Laboratory)
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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