WATCH LIVE: ULA to Launch Solar Orbiter #AtlasVRocket Journey-to-capture-the-Sun @11:03 pm EST
ULA will launch the Solar Orbiter for the ESA/NASA mission using Atlas V 411 configuration rocket. It will lift off from the Space Launch Complex 41 in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Liftoff window begins at 11:03 p.m. EST (4:03 GMT).
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Solar Orbiter spacecraft will begin journey to study the sun for the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA.
ESA's Engineering & Test Center (ESTEC) in The Netherlands is managing the development effort. Airbus developed the spacecraft. The European Space Operations Center (ESOC) in Germany will operate Solar Orbiter after launch.
The spacecraft will observe the sun with high-resolution telescopes and, for the first time, image the sun's poles for the next decade.
"What we want to do with Solar Orbiter is to understand how our star creates and controls the constantly changing space environment throughout the solar system," said Yannis Zouganelis, ESA deputy project scientist for Solar Orbiter at the European Space Astronomy Centre in Madrid, Spain during the teleconference.
Solar Orbiter will be used to study how the sun creates and controls the heliosphere, the vast, bubble-like region of space that contains the solar system. The spacecraft will combine in situ and remote-sensing observations to increase our understanding of the sun and its processes.
The Solar Orbiter will work with NASA's Parker Solar Probe, which launched in 2018, to provide the most comprehensive look of our star through up-close observations and imagery, according to NASA.
The $1.5 billion mission will travel as close as 26 million miles from the sun.
This will be the 137th mission for United Launch Alliance. It is the 82nd for an Atlas V rocket and the 6th in the 411 configuration.
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