The planned launch of the Parker Solar Probe was delayed from Saturday and was scheduled for 3:31 a.m. ET on Sunday.
NASA’s website updated about the United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket carrying the Parker Solar Probe spacecraft. As the website suggests, its launch was postponed due to a violation of a launch limit.
Later on, its launch was planned for Sunday, August 12 from Space Launch Complex-37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. According to forecast, the chances of favorable weather conditions were 60 percent for the launch. The launch time was set at 3:31 a.m. EDT.
NASA’s mission to the Sun
In the name of protecting the Earth, a NASA probe is planning a mission to the Sun. The space agency’s Parker Solar is expected to launch to orbit on Saturday, starting its long journey that will eventually make humanity touch its nearest star for the very first time. In the history of mankind, it will be the first mission planned at reaching the Sun.
From Cape Canaveral Florida, the probe will take flight with a Delta IV Heavy rocket at 3:33 a.m. ET on Saturday. Ironically, the rocket will be launched to the Sun in the mid-night from Cape Canaveral Florida. If you wish to see the launch, you can watch it on the NASA TV.
The spacecraft will direct towards the Sun’s atmosphere after the launch which is made up of super hot plasma. Its atmosphere is also known as corona.
Parker Solar Probe scientist Ad Szabo said that the solar corona is the only and the last places in the solar system where no spacecraft has ever visited. Due to this, he is very excited and feels like an explorer.
As this mission is the first mission planned to the Sun, it is also unique in other ways. According to NASA, the car-sized spacecraft will fly as fast as 430,000 miles per hour. This will be the fastest human-made spacecraft ever. While the probe approaches the Sun, it will use gravity of Venus to slow itself down.
The spacecraft is planned to orbit the Sun about 24 times in the course of seven years. It will be just about 3.8 million miles above the Sun’s surface at its closest point. On an average, the Earth orbits around the Sun at a distance of about 93 million miles.
Throughout its journey in space, the Parker is expected to reveal never-before-seen factors of the Sun’s atmosphere (Corona) and the Sun as a whole.
Nicky Fox, a project scientist said that they will be going where no spacecraft has dared to go in the space.
For decades, scientists wanted to explore about the stellar mechanics. This will be now possible as the spacecraft will orbit around the Sun, and with each orbit they will discover new regions of Corona.
The name of spacecraft is derived from Eugene Parker, the scientist to first predict the existence of the solar wind. He said that there are some fast-moving solar particles that stream around the entire solar system.
Solar wind is subject to create a lot of issues for humans – from messing with GPS communications to revealing astronauts in space to high radiation. So, this mission is planned to figure out where the solar wind comes from.
Data collected by the probe will also be helpful to scientists for learning more about space weather. Also, if they are able to learn about its origin and behavior in general, it might be possible to predict about the space weather.
According to NASA, the solar wind fills much of the solar system. So, far past Earth, the space environment is dominated by the solar wind.
By sending more and more spacecrafts and astronauts in the space, it becomes east for NASA to understand the space environment more and more.
Scientists have had to be very careful to make sure that the Parker Solar Probe does not burn up during the process of conducting its important science.
The spacecraft is equipped with a thick combination of carbon composite foam and carbon fiber shield. According to NASA, this thick shield will allow the spacecraft to absorb the extreme heat of the Sun, heating up to 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit and keep the spacecraft and its sensitive instruments at 85 degrees Fahrenheit.