New Horizons is a NASA space probe launched to study the dwarf planet Pluto, its moons and one or two Kuiper Belt objects, depending on which are in position to be explored. Part of the New Frontiers program, the mission was approved in 2001 following the cancellation of the Pluto Fast Flyby and Pluto Kuiper Express. The mission profile was proposed by a team led by principal investigator Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute. After several delays on the launch site, New Horizons was launched on 19 January 2006 from Cape Canaveral. Launched directly into an Earth-and-solar-escape trajectory with an Earth-relative velocity of about 16.26 km/s, it set the record for the highest velocity of a human-made object from Earth. New Horizons should perform a flyby of the Pluto system on 14 July 2015.
After a brief encounter with the asteroid 132524 APL, New Horizons proceeded to Jupiter making its closest approach on 28 February 2007 at a distance of 2.3 million kilometres from the planet. The Jupiter flyby provided a gravitational assist increasing the probe's speed by 14,000 kilometres per hour.