The New Horizons Pluto mission launched successfully yesterday.
Quote from the above press release:
“The United States of America has just made history by launching the first spacecraft to explore Pluto and the Kuiper Belt beyond,” says Dr. Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator, from Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colo. “No other nation has this capability. This is the kind of exploration that forefathers, like Lewis and Clark 200 years ago this year, made a trademark of our nation.”
Congratulations to NASA with the success, they’re batting a 100.
After the spectacular failures of a number of robotic missions in the 90ies, lead NASA to change it’s traditional complicated space craft designs to simpler, innovative (like the use of airbags for soft landings) and last, but not least, cheaper designs, the success-rate of the robotic missions has been increasing, and it now seems like routine that the missions are so successful, that they are extendend again and again.