Ready for liftoff! The Parker #SolarProbe, our mission to touch the Sun, will have its first opportunity to lift off on Saturday, Aug. 11, at 3:33 a.m. EDT. Launching from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, Parker Solar Probe will make its journey all the way to the Sun’s atmosphere, or corona — closer to the Sun than any spacecraft in history.
Nestled atop a United Launch Alliance (@ulalaunch) Delta IV Heavy — one of the world’s most powerful rockets — with a third stage added, Parker will blast off toward the Sun with a whopping 55 times more energy than is required to reach Mars. About the size of a small car, it weighs a mere 1,400 pounds.
Zooming through space in a highly elliptical orbit, the probe will reach speeds up to 430,000 miles per hour — fast enough to get from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C., in a second — setting the record for the fastest spacecraft in history. During its nominal mission lifetime of just under 7 years, Parker Solar Probe will complete 24 orbits of the Sun — reaching within 3.8 million miles of the Sun’s surface at closest approach.
Seen here is the rocket payload fairing at Launch Complex 37.
Image Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls
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