Historic Parker Solar Probe Launches This Weekend

Historic Parker Solar Probe Launches This Weekend

It has scheduled by NASA to blast off on a Delta IV Heavy rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida on Saturday. The satellite will use gravity assist technology to make its closest approach to the sun in 2024.

You've already heard plenty about the Parker Solar Probe over the past year or so and with good reason. Zurbuchen and Fox also presented Parker with NASA's distinguished public service medal.

NASA counted down Friday to the launch of a $1.5 billion spacecraft that aims to plunge into the Sun's sizzling atmosphere and become humanity's first mission to explore a star.

Parker will get almost seven times closer to the sun than previous spacecraft. If the teams investigate the issues that delayed Saturday's launch and it can't be resolved in time for a 24-hour turnaround, the next attempt won't happen until Monday. About the size of a small vehicle, it weighs a mere 1,400 pounds.

Weighing just 635 kgs, it is a relatively light spacecraft, said Andy Driesman, project manager for the mission at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in the US. This according to Mr parker will be a great achievement among all missions conducted to the sun.

After it launches, the probe will travel at a record-breaking 430,000 miles per hour, the fastest speed ever achieved by a spacecraft.

After NASA announced the spacecraft would be named after him, Park said he is looking forward to seeing the science form the mission going to a region of space never before explored.

Image: The spacecraft will use seven Venus flybys to get nearer the sun.

A red-hot voyage to the sun is going to bring us closer to our star than ever before.

After launch, the spacecraft will head toward Venus, whose gravity will bend its path into the correct orbit. The only way we can do that is to finally go up and touch the sun.

The heat shield is built to withstand radiation equivalent to up to about 500 times the Sun's radiation on Earth.

The craft comes equipped with a thick shield made of carbon composite foam and carbon fiber. In 1958, he hypothesized the existence of the solar wind, the constant rush of highly charged particles that constantly streams off the sun.

These radioactive storms are so powerful they are able to knock out satellites, disrupt services such as communications and Global Positioning System, threaten aircraft and in even interfere with electricity supplies.

And two sets of instruments study those solar-wind particles.

"All of our data on the corona so far have been remote", said Nicholeen Viall, solar physicist at Goddard.

Also on board: more than 1 million names of space fans submitted to NASA this past spring. Sometime between August 11 and 23, the close of the launch period, these names and 1,400 pounds of solar protection and science equipment will begin their journey to the center of our solar system. The first Venus flyby is in October, followed by the first dip into the sun's corona in November.

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