NASA second attempt at solar probe launch

The mission costs £1.17billion

On board the Delta IV Heavy rocket is the Parker Solar Probe on its first mission to the sun.

The shield should enable the spacecraft to survive its close shave with the fiery star, coming within 3.83 million miles (6.16 million kilometers) of the Sun's surface.

Over the next two months, Parker Solar Probe will fly towards Venus, performing its first Venus gravity assist in early October - a maneuver a bit like a handbrake turn - that whips the spacecraft around the planet, using Venus's gravity to trim the spacecraft's orbit tighter around the Sun.

Zooming through space in a highly elliptical orbit, the Parker Solar Probe will reach speeds of up to 7,00,000 km per hour, setting the record for the fastest spacecraft in history.

The probe will fly close enough to observe solar winds, assess their speed and study the formation of high-energy solar particles, which are associated with flares that can wreak havoc on Earth.

The mission, which has been sought after for 60 years, was first scheduled to launch on July 31, but was pushed back several times due to a variety of technical issues.

NASA's Parker Solar Probe launches from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S., August 12, 2018. This followed earlier trouble in the countdown.

Over the course of almost seven years and 24 solar orbits, the probe will make use of seven Venus flybys to adjust its trajectory.

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"We'll be going where no spacecraft has dared go before - within the corona of a star", said project scientist Nicky Fox of the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab in Laurel, Maryland, which designed the probe and manages the mission.

The probe will explore the corona, the outermost atmosphere of the Sun, and investigate the mysteries of the solar wind, the flow of charged particles that streams into the solar system at about...

"Tested to withstand up to 1,650 degrees Celsius, the TPS can handle any heat the Sun can send its way, keeping nearly all instrumentation safe", said NASA.

"The spacecraft must operate in the sun's corona, where temperatures can reach millions of degrees", Brown told ABC News via email. That will be seven times closer than previous spacecraft.

It is said to endure unprecedented levels of heat, and radiation 500 times greater than that experienced on Earth. It also holds a memory card containing more than 1.1 million names submitted by the public to travel with the spacecraft to the Sun.

Knowing more about the solar wind and space storms will also help protect future deep space explorers as they journey toward the Moon or Mars. The shield's front surface will be able to withstand temperatures outside the spacecraft up to 2,500 degree Fahrenheit. It has been outfitted with a heat shield created to keep its instruments at a tolerable 85 degrees Fahrenheit (29 degrees Celsius) even as the spacecraft faces temperatures reaching almost 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit (1,370 degrees Celsius) at its closest pass. That's further away than Parker but it will still need an impressive shield.

Main objectives of Parker Solar Probe?


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