Parker Solar Probe Completes Space Environment Testing

Posted on 03/26/2018 15:35:00

Parker Solar Probe has completed its space environment testing at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and was lifted out of the thermal vacuum chamber on March 24, 2018, after just over two months inside.

Since January, Parker Solar Probe underwent a series of tests inside NASA Goddard’s large thermal vacuum chamber – officially called the Space Environment Simulator – that mimicked the conditions the spacecraft will face in space throughout its seven-year mission. After initially testing the spacecraft’s functions under hot and cold extremes, engineers have spent the past month slowly cycling the temperatures in the thermal vacuum chamber back and forth between hot and cold, making sure Parker Solar Probe’s systems and components operate properly. This thermal cycling is similar to the conditions the spacecraft will experience as it completes 24 close approaches to the Sun over its seven-year mission.

“Successfully completing this final round of space environment testing is critical, and the team has created an exceptional spacecraft,” said Andy Driesman, Parker Solar Probe program manager from the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab in Laurel, Maryland, which designed, built, and will manage the mission for NASA. “We now know the spacecraft and systems are able to operate in space, and that Parker Solar Probe is ready to embark on this historic mission.”

After undergoing final preparations, the spacecraft will leave NASA Goddard and travel to Florida this spring. Once in Florida, Parker Solar Probe will go through its final integration and testing at Astrotech Space Operations in Titusville before launching from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center this summer. Parker Solar Probe’s launch window opens on July 31, 2018.

- Justyna Surowiec
Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory


Members of the Parker Solar Probe team prepare the spacecraft to be lifted from the Space Environment Simulator at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, on March 24, 2018. The spacecraft has spent eight weeks undergoing successful testing in the Space Environment Simulator to ensure that the mission will operate as planned during its seven-year long exploration of the Sun.

Members of the Parker Solar Probe team prepare the spacecraft to be lifted from the Space Environment Simulator at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, on March 24, 2018. The spacecraft has spent eight weeks undergoing successful testing in the Space Environment Simulator to ensure that the mission will operate as planned during its seven-year long exploration of the Sun.
Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman
High-Res Image

NASA’s Parker Solar Probe is carefully lifted from the Space Environment Simulator at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, on March 24, 2018. The probe has spent eight weeks undergoing space environment testing, including hot and cold cycling tests that mimic the temperature changes the spacecraft will experience during its seven-year long exploration of the Sun.

NASA’s Parker Solar Probe is carefully lifted from the Space Environment Simulator at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, on March 24, 2018. The probe has spent eight weeks undergoing space environment testing, including hot and cold cycling tests that mimic the temperature changes the spacecraft will experience during its seven-year long exploration of the Sun.
Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman
High-Res Image

Parker Solar Probe is lifted out of the Space Environment Simulator at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, on March 24, 2018. The spacecraft has spent eight weeks undergoing space environment testing in the thermal vacuum chamber. After about seven more days of testing outside the chamber, Parker Solar Probe will travel to Florida for a scheduled launch on July 31, 2018, from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral.

Parker Solar Probe is lifted out of the Space Environment Simulator at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, on March 24, 2018. The spacecraft has spent eight weeks undergoing space environment testing in the thermal vacuum chamber. After about seven more days of testing outside the chamber, Parker Solar Probe will travel to Florida for a scheduled launch on July 31, 2018, from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral.
Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman
High-Res Image

Members of the Parker Solar Probe team from the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab in Laurel, Maryland, monitor the progress of the spacecraft as it is lifted from the Space Environment Simulator at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and lowered to the custom platform visible in the foreground. The spacecraft has spent eight weeks undergoing space environment testing in the thermal vacuum chamber before being lifted out on March 24, 2018.

Members of the Parker Solar Probe team from the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab in Laurel, Maryland, monitor the progress of the spacecraft as it is lifted from the Space Environment Simulator at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and lowered to the custom platform visible in the foreground. The spacecraft has spent eight weeks undergoing space environment testing in the thermal vacuum chamber before being lifted out on March 24, 2018.
Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman
High-Res Image

Members of the Parker Solar Probe team from the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center carefully lower the spacecraft onto a specially built platform on March 24, 2018. The probe has spent eight weeks undergoing space environment testing, including hot and cold cycling tests that mimic the temperature changes the spacecraft will experience during its seven-year long exploration of the Sun.

Members of the Parker Solar Probe team from the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center carefully lower the spacecraft onto a specially built platform on March 24, 2018. The probe has spent eight weeks undergoing space environment testing, including hot and cold cycling tests that mimic the temperature changes the spacecraft will experience during its seven-year long exploration of the Sun.
Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman
High-Res Image

Parker Solar Probe team members connect the spacecraft to a specially built platform after removing the probe from the Space Environment Simulator at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, on March 24, 2018. The probe will undergo about seven more days of testing outside the chamber, then travel to Florida for a scheduled launch on July 31, 2018, from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral.

Parker Solar Probe team members connect the spacecraft to a specially built platform after removing the probe from the Space Environment Simulator at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, on March 24, 2018. The probe will undergo about seven more days of testing outside the chamber, then travel to Florida for a scheduled launch on July 31, 2018, from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral.
Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman
High-Res Image

NASA’s Parker Solar Probe is wheeled into a clean room at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, on March 24, 2018, after successfully completing space environment testing to verify the spacecraft is ready for operations in space. The probe will undergo about seven more days of testing outside the chamber, then travel to Florida for a scheduled launch on July 31, 2018, from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral.

NASA’s Parker Solar Probe is wheeled into a clean room at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, on March 24, 2018, after successfully completing space environment testing to verify the spacecraft is ready for operations in space. The probe will undergo about seven more days of testing outside the chamber, then travel to Florida for a scheduled launch on July 31, 2018, from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral.
Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman
High-Res Image


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