Solar 60: Parker Solar Probe Moves to Launch Pad, Attaches to Launch Vehicle
Parker Solar Probe integration and test engineer Rosanna Smith and launch vehicle system integration engineer Steve Vernon discuss the July 30 move of Parker Solar Probe to Space Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Base in Florida and the integration of the spacecraft on July 31 to the Delta IV Heavy launch vehicle.
Solar 60: Encapsulation into Fairing
Deputy Lead Mechanical Engineer Felipe Ruiz from Johns Hopkins APL explains the process of encapsulating the Parker Solar Probe spacecraft in its 62.7-foot tall fairing in preparation to move to Space Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
Solar 60: Parker Solar Probe Mated to Third Stage
Tim Cole of Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab, lead mechanical engineer for Parker Solar Probe, discusses preparations to mate the spacecraft with the third stage rocket motor that will give it the extra high energy boost the spacecraft needs to reach the Sun.
Solar 60: Propellant Loading onto Parker Solar Probe
Johns Hopkins APL's Dan Matlin, telecommunications integration and test lead engineer, and Stewart Bushman, propulsion lead engineer, talk about the processes needed to test the spacecraft before loading the hazardous task of loading hydrazine on board Parker Solar Probe. This propellant is used by the spacecraft for course and positional adjustments.
Solar 60: Component Alignments on Parker Solar Probe
Rosanna Smith, Parker Solar Probe integration and test engineer from Johns Hopkins APL, talks with APL's Chris Choi, lead alignments engineer, and Prisca Derosa, alignments engineer, about the importance of aligning and positioning of the instruments and other components on the spacecraft.
Solar 60: The Wide-field Imager for Solar PRobe (WISPR) Instrument
Johns Hopkins APL's Jennifer Fischer, deputy systems assurance manager, and Research Support Instruments' Mark Boies, WISPR instrument systems engineer, discuss the spacecraft's sole white-light imaging instrument. WISPR - the Wide-field Imager for Solar PRobe (WISPR) - consists of two telescopes that will take images of the solar corona and inner heliosphere. The experiment will also provide images of the solar wind, shocks and other structures as they approach and pass the spacecraft.
Solar 60: The Solar Array Cooling System
Johns Hopkins APL's Felipe Ruiz, deputy lead mechanical engineer, and UTC Aerospace Systems' Gary Stewart, senior experimental engineer for Parker Solar Probe's Solar Array Cooling System (SACS), discuss the spacecraft's innovative system that will keep its solar arrays cool while operating just 3.9 million miles from the Sun.
Solar 60: SWEAP Principal Investigator Justin Kasper
The University of Michigan's Justin Kasper, principal investigator for the Solar Wind Electrons Alphas and Protons (SWEAP) Investigation, discusses how the instruments of SWEAP will count the most abundant particles in the solar wind -- electrons, protons and helium ions -- and measure their properties such as velocity, density, and temperature. SWEAP includes the Solar Probe Cup, which is the only instrument mounted outside the protective heat shield of the spacecraft.
Solar 60: The SWEAP Instrument Suite
UC Berkeley's Phyllis Whittlesey, instrument lead for the SPAN electron analyzers, and Davin Larson, institutional principal investigator, discuss the Solar Wind Electrons Alphas and Protons (SWEAP) investigation and how it will help scientists make precise measurements of particles in the solar wind.
Solar 60: Thermal Blanket Installation on Parker Solar Probe
Johns Hopkins APL's Eric Wallis, lead thermal multi-layer insulation engineer, discusses the spacecraft's custom built thermal blankets role and function with APL's Felipe Ruiz, deputy lead mechanical engineer. We also get to see the thermal blanket team - Neal Bachtell, Tony Ahan, Lynsey Gwilliam, and Helen O'Conner - at work installing Parker Solar Probe's critical thermal blankets.
Solar 60: The Team Behind the Parker Solar Probe Mission
Project Scientist Nicky Fox of Johns Hopkins APL and APL Space Exploration Sector Head Mike Ryschkewitsch talk about the amazing team and dedication needed to produce Parker Solar Probe: the coolest, hottest mission under the Sun.
Solar 60: Fault Management and Autonomy on Parker Solar Probe
Evan Smith, fault management test lead, and Sanae Kubota, fault management lead engineer - both of Johns Hopkins APL - discuss how Parker Solar Probe's team ensures the spacecraft can protect itself while on its historic mission to the Sun. This includes simulations of potential issues that could possible arise during the mission to make sure the team and the spacecraft are ready for launch.
Solar 60: Parker Dedication Plaque and Send Your Name to the Sun Installation
Parker Solar Probe Project Manager Andy Driesman and Project Scientist Nicky Fox, both from the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, discuss the installation of a plaque dedicating the mission to its namesake, Eugene Parker, who first theorized the existence of the solar wind. This is the first NASA mission to be named for a living person. On the plaque is a memory card containing Parker's 1958 paper about the solar wind, photographs of him during his career, and 1,137,202 names submitted by the public to join the mission on its historic journey to touch the Sun.
Solar 60: Fields Antenna Release Testing
The Fields antennas are a critical part of Parker Solar Probe's science operations. They need to be stowed alongside the spacecraft during launch, and released for deployment when safely in space. Johns Hopkins APL's Jennifer Fischer, Randy Schlotterbeck, and Sarah Bucior explain and perform a test of the release mechanism, known as "clam shells."
Solar 60: Delta IV Heavy Launch Vehicle Rises at Launch Complex 37
Parker Solar Probe's launch vehicle - the Delta IV Heavy, the most powerful rocket currently used by NASA - will carry the spacecraft into space later this year. Johns Hopkins APL's Jennifer Fischer, deputy system assurance lead, interviews Project Manager Andy Driesman about the launch and the efforts to date to make this historic mission possible.
Solar 60: Flying Parker Solar Probe from Maryland to Florida
Deputy Project Manager Patrick Hill and Systems Assurance Lead Luke Becker, both of Johns Hopkins APL, discuss the planning involved in flying Parker Solar Probe from Maryland to Florida - and why it's smarter to fly than drive.
Solar 60: Parker Solar Probe Mission Design
How do you design the trajectory of a mission to the touch the sun? Johns Hopkins APL's Yanping Guo, mission design and navigation manager, explains how the alignment of the planets led to the creation of the best route for NASA's Parker Solar Probe.
Solar 60: Simulating Heat on Parker Solar Probe
Even though Parker Solar Probe's thermal protection system (TPS) will shield the spacecraft from the tremendous heat of the Sun as the mission flies through the corona, the integration and testing team still needs to ensure the probe will perform as expected. Johns Hopkins APL's Rosanna Smith and Elizabeth Abel explain how the Parker Solar Probe team uses the space environment simulator at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center to test the spacecraft.
Solar 60: Simulating the Deep Chill of Space
The Parker Solar Probe team needs to get the spacecraft into a deep cold environment, just like it will experience while in space. Johns Hopkins APL's Felipe Ruiz and Andy Webb describe how the thermal vacuum chamber at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center creates the intense cold temps - and there's a humorous exaggeration in the explanation that true science-fiction-comedy film fans will catch!
Solar 60: What Happens During "Chamber Break?"
While undergoing space environment testing at the thermal vacuum chamber at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in February, the Parker Solar Probe team opened the chamber to reconfigure the spacecraft and testing equipment. Johns Hopkins APL's Luke Becker interviews Annette Dolbow, lead integration and testing engineer, about the process and preparing for the four-week long thermal cycling test.
Solar 60: Space Environment Testing for Thermal Protection System
Parker Solar Probe's Deputy Lead Mechanical Engineer Felipe Ruiz and Thermal Protection System (TPS) Lead Engineer Betsy Congdon - both from Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab - discuss how the spacecraft undergoes space environment testing with a special version of the TPS.
First Perihelion: Into the Unknown - Parker Solar Probe
At about 10:28 p.m. EST on Nov. 5, Parker Solar Probe achieved its first perihelion - its first close approach to the Sun - and came within 15 million miles of the Sun's surface, almost twice as close as any spacecraft before it. During perihelion, the spacecraft reached a top speed of 213,200 miles per hour relative to the Sun.
Parker Solar Probe: The Journey Begins
NASA’s Parker Solar Probe launched from Florida Sunday, Aug. 12 to begin its journey to the Sun, where it will undertake a landmark mission. The spacecraft will transmit its first science observations in December, beginning a revolution in our understanding of the star that makes life on Earth possible. The spacecraft – designed, built, and managed for NASA by the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory – lifted off at 3:31 a.m. EDT on a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket from Space Launch Complex-37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. At 5:33 a.m. EDT, the mission operations manager at APL reported that the spacecraft was healthy and operating nominally. Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL
Parker Solar Probe: Women on a Mission
We celebrated Women's History Month with a look at a group of women from the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab who are key to the success of NASA's Parker Solar Probe, scheduled to launch on July 31. Meet APL's Nicola Fox, project scientist; Betsy Congdon, lead thermal protection system engineer; Yanping Guo, mission design and navigation manager; and Annette Dolbow, integration and test lead engineer -- just a few of the women working to ready the Parker Solar Probe spacecraft for its historic journey to our star.
Moving Day: Parker Solar Probe Move from Johns Hopkins APL to NASA Goddard
Follow Parker Solar Probe on its journey from Johns Hopkins APL to NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Moving a spacecraft is a complex process, but with lots of planning and smart work, the team makes it look almost easy.
ProtoSpace Augmented Reality for Parker Solar Probe
Engineers from the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland (where Parker Solar Probe is under construction) are leveraging a new augmented reality (AR) tool called ProtoSpace, developed at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, to improve how the men and women building the spacecraft can work on construction in a virtual, digital space.