SOLAR ORBITER Begins Deep Space Mission

The US Atlas V 411 rocket – with ESA’s Solar Orbiter spacecraft inside – at the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center in Florida
The US Atlas V 411 rocket – with ESA’s Solar Orbiter spacecraft inside – at the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center in Florida

February 10, 2020 – The SOLAR ORBITER mission successfully launched last night from Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral AFB on an Atlas V for a multi-year mission to study the Sun.

The Sun is one of billions and billions of stars, yet it is the one star essential to our survival.

The Solar Orbiter is an European Space Agency-led space mission with NASA to study the Sun, its outer atmosphere and what drives the dynamic outflow of solar wind that affects Earth.

According to the official press release from the European Space Agency, “The spacecraft will observe the Sun’s atmosphere up close with high spatial resolution telescopes and compare these observations with measurements taken in the environment directly surrounding the spacecraft – together creating a detailed picture of how the Sun affects the space environment around Earth and further out in the Solar System.”

Solar Orbiter relies on a combination of instruments for remote-sensing observations and in situ measurements built throughout Europe and in the US, expected to provide the single, most comprehensive and integrated view of the Sun and its environment ever achieved.

Solar Orbiter will provide the first-ever pictures of the Sun’s polar regions, offering key insights into the poorly-understood magnetic environment there, which helps drive the Sun’s 11-year solar cycle and its periodic outpouring of solar storms.

Space launches and space exploration missions help propel this region, widely considered Florida’s top-ranked High Tech Corridor. Viera, Florida is ultimately well located to take advantage of the regional growth and development and the relocation of major company headquarters to the Space Coast.

Source:: ESA

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