The New Horizons spacecraft was in the news recently after flying past Pluto and beaming back some amazing images. Designed by Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory for the NASA mission, Femap was used to create the simulation model. The spacecraft is a robust lightweight observatory the size of a grand piano and recently completed the 9-year, 3-billion mile long journey from Earth to the far reaches of the solar system.
Launched aboard an Atlas V rocket in January 2006, New Horizons has been steadily making its way towards the edge of the solar system. The spacecraft passed by Jupiter a little over a year later, and used the planet’s gravity to boost its speed to about 50,000 km/h shaving 3 years off the journey and making it the fastest spacecraft ever launched.