NASA and ESA’s biggest project to understand better the complicated workings of the Sun is getting ready for liftoff. The Solar Orbiter mission has been inserted in its secured layer and placed atop the rocket that will cast the satellite towards our star next week. The project has been dubbed SolO and costs the space agencies almost 1.5B EUR with significant input from the US.
It has the goal to support scientists to understand better what pushes the Sun’s dynamic performance. The spaceship went to the Cape Canaveral liftoff complex back in December to initiate some final tests. And now, with those last checks completed and with SolO packed with a quarter tonne of fuel, engineers have made ready the probe to fly.
Moreover, such a thing resulted in SolO first being enclosed inside the 4m-broad, clamshell-designed fairing that will secure the satellite as it raises through the sky to space. Then the spaceship was sent to encounter its United Launch Alliance Atlas rocket. SolO was lifted into position atop of the vehicle’s primary center and Centaur top-phases.
Solar Orbiter Mission Is Ready
The Atlas rocket will direct SolO on the way to the Solar System’s core. The spaceship will then utilize gravitational flybys of Venus and Earth to put itself inside the orbit of Mercury, approximately 43 million kilometers from the Sun.
“It’s got 10 instruments to study the Sun, but in reality, each instrument is a consortium of different instrument packages. That gives Solar Orbiter tremendous capability, but these different packages all have their own priorities,” stated Ian Walters, a program manager at Airbus.
The probe will prepare its telescopes on the ground of our star, solving some things as little as 70 kilometers across. The photos should be fantastic, but they represent only a small percentage of SolO’s science. The spaceship also transports devices and tools to identify the steady flow from the Sun of charged matter and their entrained magnetic fields.