Parker Solar Probe Launched on Seven-Year Space Odyssey: NASA
Miami: NASA on Sunday said it had launched Parker Solar Probe, the US space agency’s historic small car-sized probe, on its seven-year space odyssey that will take it gradually closer to the Sun at 3.8 million miles. The spacecraft, launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, will transmit its first scientific observations in December, beginning a revolution in our understanding of the star that makes life on Earth possible. The mission’s findings will help researchers improve their forecasts of space weather events, which have the potential to damage satellites and harm astronauts in orbit, disrupt radio communications and, at their most severe, overwhelm power grids.
“#ParkerSolarProbe lifted off from Space Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 3.31 a.m. EDT (European Daylight Time) aboard a @ulalaunch #DeltaIVHeavy!,” the US-based space agency tweeted. At 5.33 a.m., the mission operations manager reported that the spacecraft was operating normally.
Over the next two months, Parker Solar Probe will fly towards Venus, performing its first Venus gravity assist in early October — a manoeuvre 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. Throughout its seven-year mission, Parker Solar Probe will make six more Venus flybys and 24 total passes by the Sun, journeying steadily closer to the Sun until it makes its closest approach at 3.8 million miles. (IANS)