Engineers at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, have attached the Parker Solar Probe’s solar shadow-shield for final, integrated vehicle testing ahead of launch. The probe, which will be the first to “touch the Sun” is being readied for an anticipated 31 July 2018 launch aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL – which will start an 7 year mission to study the Sun.
Parker Solar Probe:
Now less than one year away from launch, the Parker Solar Probe began as an idea in the Outer Planet/Solar Probe program of NASA in the 1990s.
The original mission concept, the Solar Orbiter, was canceled in 2003 as part of the George W. Bush Administration’s restructuring of NASA to focus more on research and development and address management shortcomings in the wake of the 1 February 2003 breakup of the Space Shuttle Columbia that claimed the lives of all seven astronauts aboard.
Six years later, the mission concept was resurrected as a “new mission start” in 2009 with an aim to launch a new solar probe in 2015.
By 2012, as the mission moved into its design phase, the ...