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After technical delay, Nasa to try again launching Sun probe

12 August 2018, 11:43 | Dale Webster

UPDATE: NASA postpones launch of Parker Solar Probe

Parker Solar Probe launch delayed until Sunday

In just a few hours, United Launch Alliance will try a second time to launch NASA's highly anticipated Parker Solar Probe. On Wednesday, NASA announced it will launch the probe in summer 2018 to explore the solar atmosphere. The agency is now targeting Sunday for the launch of the spacecraft which is created to go all the way to the Sun's atmosphere, or corona - closer to the Sun than any spacecraft in history.

The probe is created to plunge into the Sun's mysterious atmosphere, known as the corona, coming within 3.83 million miles (6.16 million kilometers) of its surface during a seven-year mission.

"Launch teams are working on technical issues and weather is predicted to be 70 per cent chance of favourable conditions", NASA said in a tweet late on Thursday.

A first launch attempt early Saturday scrubbed with less than two minutes to go before liftoff of the Parker Solar Probe on a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket, News 6 partner Florida Today reported.

The mission is named after famed solar scientist Eugene Parker, and is NASA's first to be named after a living person.

The car-sized probe is created to give scientists a better understanding of solar wind and geomagnetic storms that risk wreaking chaos on Earth by knocking out the power grid.

In the lead-up to the launch, NASA collected 1.1 million names from members of the public who wanted to symbolically orbit the sun at close range.

Parker Solar Probe launch delayed until Sunday
NASA delays launch of first ever solar probe | TheHill

Image: The probe's orbits will gradually take it nearer to the sun.

The probe will be controlled from the Mission Operations Centre based at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU APL), which is where NASA handles its unmanned missions.

Parker said he was "impressed" by the Parker Solar Probe, calling it "a very complex machine".

It will get more than seven times closer than the current record holder for a close solar pass, a record set by the Helios 2 spacecraft in 1976.

The heat shield is made of a 4.5-inch thick carbon composite foam material between two carbon fibre face sheets.

Even in a region where temperatures can reach more than a million degrees Fahrenheit, the sunlight is expected to heat the shield to just around 2,500 deg F (1,371 deg C).






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