NASA’s Parker Solar Probe team has earned agency honors for its novel efforts to guide a spacecraft toward record-setting close distances from the Sun – and revealing more about our star than mission planners and scientists ever expected.
NASA’s Parker Solar Probe completed its 18th close approach to the Sun on Dec. 28, matching its own distance record by skimming just about 4.51 million miles (7.26 million kilometers) of the solar surface.The close approach (known as perihelion) occurred at 7:56 p.m.
NASA’s Parker Solar Probe completed its 17th close approach to the Sun on Sept. 27, breaking its own distance record by skimming just 4.51 million miles (7.26 million kilometers) of the solar surface. Set up by gravity-assist flyby of Venus on Aug.
In 2022, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe soared gracefully through one of the most powerful coronal mass ejections (CMEs) ever recorded—not only an impressive feat of engineering but a huge boon for the scientific community.
NASA’s Parker Solar Probe has racked up an impressive list of superlatives in its first five years of operations: It’s the closest spacecraft to the Sun, the fastest human-made object and the first mission to ever “touch the Sun.”Now, Parker has one more feather to add to its Sun-kissed cap: It’s the first spacecraft ever to fly through a powerful solar explosion near the Sun.As detailed in a new study published Sept.
NASA’s Parker Solar Probe zoomed past Venus on Aug. 21, using the planet’s gravity to aim toward a record-setting series of flights around the Sun that start next month. At just before 8:03 a.m.
On Aug. 12, 2018 — five years ago this week — NASA's Parker Solar Probe blasted off atop a powerful Delta IV rocket from what is now Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. The predawn launch into the skies over the Florida coast marked the start of a game-changing mission to unlock the secrets of the solar wind — and the culmination of decades of development to craft a robotic explorer able to withstand the heat and radiation near the Sun like no other spacecraft before it.
NASA's Parker Solar Probe executed a short maneuver on Aug. 3 that kept the spacecraft on track to hit the aim point for the mission's sixth Venus flyby on Aug. 21. Operating on preprogrammed commands from mission control at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, Parker fired its small thrusters for 4.5 seconds, enough to adjust its trajectory by 77 miles and speed up – by 1.4 seconds – its closest approach to Venus.
NASA's Parker Solar Probe has completed its 16th science orbit, which included a close approach to the Sun (known as perihelion) that brought it within just 5.3 million miles of the solar surface on June 22 while moving at 364,610 miles per hour.
Each winter, the Geminids meteoroids light up the sky as they race past Earth, producing one of the most intense meteor showers in the night sky. Mysteries surrounding the origin of this meteoroid stream have fascinated planetary scientists for decades.
NASA’s Parker Solar Probe has flown close enough to the Sun to detect the fine structure of the solar wind close to where it is generated at the Sun’s surface, revealing details that are lost as the wind exits the corona as a uniform blast of charged particles.It’s like seeing jets of water emanating from a showerhead through the blast of water hitting you in the face.In a paper published this week in the journal Nature, a team of scientists led by Stuart D.
NASA’s Parker Solar Probe completed its 15th close approach to the Sun on March 17, coming within 5.3 million miles of the scorching solar surface. The geometry of Parker’s latest orbit also placed it in direct view of Earth and several other Sun-watching spacecraft during its close encounter, providing unique scientific opportunities for collaborative observations from the ground and space.
Scientists with NASA’s Parker Solar Probe mission think they have discovered the processes that give birth to streams of charged particles – called solar wind – released from the Sun’s corona, or upper atmosphere.A team led by Nour Raouafi of the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) found evidence that small-scale jetting in the Sun’s corona, driven by a process called magnetic reconnection, is responsible for the heating and acceleration of the solar wind.
On Dec. 6, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe began the 14th of 24 planned close approaches to the Sun, eventually coming within 5.3 million miles of the solar surface. The closest approach – called perihelion – occurred on Dec. 11 at 8:16 a.m.
Parker Solar Probe featured at the 2022 International Astronautical Congress (IAC) meeting Sept. 19 in Paris, as part of a highlighted talk, "Extreme Exploration: Parker Solar Probe and Solar Orbiter Trailblazing Around the Sun." Watch the video.
As NASA’s Parker Solar Probe rounded the Sun for its 13th close encounter with the Sun, or perihelion, on Sept. 6, it was operating in a much different solar environment than ever before.NASA reported earlier this summer that Solar Cycle 25 is already exceeding predictions for solar activity, even with solar maximum — the period in the Sun’s cycle when sunspots and solar activity are most abundant — not to come for another three years.
As it orbits the Sun, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe encounters some of the most challenging conditions ever faced by a spacecraft: temperatures up to nearly 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit (800 degrees Celsius), space dust that could easily degrade materials and instruments, and intense light and high-speed particles escaping from our closest star.
The International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) presented its 2021 Laurels for Team Achievement Award to leaders of NASA's Parker Solar Probe mission, recognizing the team's efforts to create and operate humanity's first mission to "touch the Sun." Parker Solar Probe Project Scientist Nour Raouafi from the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, accepted the award July 16 during a ceremony ahead of the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) 44th Scientific Assembly, held in Athens, Greece.
Matching its own records for speed and distance to the Sun, NASA's Parker Solar Probe completed its 12th close approach to the Sun on June 1, coming within 5.3 million miles (8.5 million kilometers) of the solar surface. The close approach (known as perihelion) occurred at 6:50 p.m.
Eugene N. Parker, visionary of heliophysics and namesake of NASA’s Parker Solar Probe mission, has passed away. He was 94. As a young professor at the University of Chicago in the mid-1950s, Parker developed a mathematical theory that predicted the solar wind, the constant outflow of solar material from the Sun.
As NASA's Parker Solar Probe completes its latest swing around the Sun, it's doing so in full view of dozens of other spacecraft and ground-based telescopes. These powerful instruments can't actually see Parker itself – the van-sized spacecraft is far too small for visible detection – but they offer from a distance what the probe is sensing close-up, as it samples and analyzes the solar wind and magnetic fields from as close as 5.3 million miles (8.5 million kilometers) from the Sun's surface.Occurring at 10:36 a.m.
Since Parker Solar Probe captured its first visible light images of Venus’ surface from orbit in July 2020, a subsequent flyby allowed the spacecraft to gather more images, which mission scientists strung together into a video of Venus’ entire nightside.
A major milestone and new results from NASA’s Parker Solar Probe were announced Dec. 14 in a press conference at the 2021 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in New Orleans.
Blazing along at space-record speeds that would get it from Earth to the Moon in under an hour, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe completed its 10th close approach to the Sun on Nov. 21, coming within 5.3 million miles (8.5 million kilometers) of the solar surface.
Propelled by a recent swing past Venus, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe is healthy and performing normally as it heads toward its next closest approach to the Sun on Nov. 21.Parker Solar Probe will break its own distance and speed records on that approach – the 10th of 24 planned, progressively closer trips around the Sun – when it comes about 5.3 million miles (8.5 million kilometers) from the Sun's surface, while reaching top speeds of 101 miles (163 kilometers) per second, or 364,621 miles per hour.
NASA’s Parker Solar Probe is speeding in toward the Sun after a swing past Venus on Oct. 16, successfully using the planet’s gravity to shape its path for its next closest approach to our star.At just after 5:30 a.m.
On Sept. 29, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe completed a small maneuver that refined its path for a flyby of Venus in two weeks.The maneuver, monitored from the mission operations center at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, lasted just five seconds and trimmed the spacecraft's velocity by 9.7 centimeters per second, or less than a quarter of a mile per hour.
Parker Solar Probe Team Sheds New Light on Structure, Behavior of Inner Solar System Dust Scientists using data from NASA's Parker Solar Probe have assembled a comprehensive picture of the structure and behavior of the large cloud of space dust that swirls through the innermost solar system - and the new insight offers clues to similar clouds around stars across the universe.Research teams led by Jamey Szalay of Princeton University and Anna Pusack of University of Colorado, Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics took advantage of Parker Solar Probe's flight path - an orbit that swings it closer to Sun than any spacecraft in history - to get the best direct look yet at the most active region of the zodiacal cloud, a dusty cloud of grains shed from passing comets and asteroids.
On Aug. 13, 2021, at 5:50 a.m. EDT, mission controllers at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, in Laurel, Maryland, received a “tone one” beacon from Parker Solar Probe, indicating that all systems were healthy and operating normally after the spacecraft’s ninth close approach to the Sun on Aug.
Three years after launch, members of Parker Solar Probe team reflect on the efforts to ready the spacecraft to collect unprecedented data on the solar wind and environment around the Sun, and the promise of great discoveries to come.READ THE ARTICLES >>
NASA’s Parker Solar Probe is speeding busily through its ninth science-gathering solar encounter, heading toward a close approach of the Sun on Aug. 9 that will take it to within about 6.5 million miles (10.4 million kilometers, or 14.97 solar radii) of the solar surface.
After nearly three years in space, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe has not only made numerous passes around our fiery orb, inching closer to the Sun than any spacecraft before it, but it has also ushered in discoveries that are shaping scientists’ understanding of Earth’s star.For its efforts to untangle the long-standing mysteries of the complex solar environment, the Parker Solar Probe team has earned the National Space Club and Foundation’s Nelson P. Jackson Award, which recognizes the most outstanding contribution to aerospace in the preceding year.Designed, built and operated by APL, the Parker Solar Probe spacecraft has successfully endured the brutal conditions near the Sun’s corona with the help of its cutting-edge heat shield, water-cooled solar panels and high-precision guidance and autonomy systems, allowing for unprecedented and long-awaited close-up observations of our star.These observations are addressing questions that puzzled scientists for decades, such as how the Sun’s corona is heated and how the solar wind accelerates through space to inevitably impact our environment on Earth.The Parker Solar Probe team has started piecing that puzzle together, thanks to the intrepid spacecraft and its suite of instruments, which have given scientists a look at the previously unseen dust-free zone surrounding the Sun, as well as front-seat views of the turbulent activity near its surface.
Scientists using data from NASA’s Parker Solar Probe released a new collection of research papers in a special issue of the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics on June 2. The issue, titled Parker Solar Probe: Ushering a New Frontier in Space Exploration, includes 37 papers on discoveries made during mission's first four orbits around the Sun.
NASA's Parker Solar Probe executed a small maneuver on May 15 that corrected the trajectory errors from a gravity-assist flyby of Venus in February -- and put the probe on newly optimized path for its next Venus gravity assist on Oct.
NASA’s Parker Solar Probe has started its eighth science-gathering solar encounter, putting it one-third of the way through its planned journey of 24 progressively closer loops around the Sun.
NASA’s Parker Solar Probe captured stunning views of Venus during its close flyby of the planet in July 2020. Though Parker Solar Probe’s focus is the Sun, Venus plays a critical role in the mission: The spacecraft whips by Venus a total of seven times over the course of its seven-year mission, using the planet’s gravity to bend the spacecraft’s orbit.
NASA’s Parker Solar Probe sped past Venus on Feb. 20, using the planet’s gravity to shape its path for its next close approaches (or perihelia) to the Sun. At just after 3:05 p.m.
Its proximity to the Sun not only puts NASA’s Parker Solar Probe in position to grab unprecedented information on the nascent solar wind and solar activity, it also affords the spacecraft some unique (and pretty cool) views of our solar system.
There are lots of eyes on the Sun this week, as NASA’s Parker Solar Probe swings around our star on the seventh of its 24 scheduled orbits. None are closer than Parker Solar Probe, which passed just 8.4 million miles (13.5 million kilometers) from the Sun’s surface while flying at 289,932 miles per hour (466,600 kilometers per hour) on Jan.
Data from Parker Solar Probe’s fifth orbit around the Sun is now available to the public. This latest batch of science data was collected by Parker Solar Probe’s four instrument suites this past summer, and covers the mission’s fifth solar encounter — including closest approach to the Sun, called perihelion, on June 7— and a special observation period for the mission’s third Venus flyby in July.
Zooming away from the Sun, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe checked in with its operators on Earth early on Sept. 30, 2020, letting them know it’s healthy and operating normally after another record-setting close approach to our star on Sept.
Propelled by a midsummer flyby of Venus, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe has started yet another record-setting, science-gathering swing around the Sun, its sixth flyby of our star.Some instruments on the spacecraft have been turned on since late August, collecting data on the near-Sun environment and the solar wind as it streams from our star.
Just over a month after Parker Solar Probe marked two action-packed years in space—and hot on the heels of its third Venus flyby and fifth solar orbit—the mission to “touch” the Sun released another trove of data to the public on Sept.
Perched atop a powerful Delta IV Heavy rocket, NASA's Parker Solar Probe roared into the predawn skies over Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Aug. 12, 2018. The durable spacecraft, built and operated at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, has already set speed and solar-distance records, and continues on its journey to unlock the mysteries of our star.
Coming off its fifth encounter with the Sun — and the mission’s longest observation campaign yet — Parker Solar Probe is now headed toward Venus. Early on July 11, 2020 (UTC), the spacecraft will perform its first outbound flyby of Venus, passing approximately 516 miles above the surface as it curves around the planet.
NASA’s Parker Solar Probe was at the right place at the right time to capture a unique view of comet NEOWISE on July 5, 2020. Parker Solar Probe’s position in space gave the spacecraft an unmatched view of the comet’s twin tails when it was particularly active just after its closest approach to the Sun, called perihelion.
At the heart of understanding our space environment is the knowledge that conditions throughout space — from the Sun to the atmospheres of planets to the radiation environment in deep space — are connected.Studying this connection – a field of science called heliophysics — is a complex task: Researchers track sudden eruptions of material, radiation, and particles against the background of the ubiquitous outflow of solar material.A confluence of events in early 2020 created a nearly ideal space-based laboratory, combining the alignment of some of humanity's best observatories — including Parker Solar Probe, during its fourth solar flyby — with a quiet period in the Sun's activity, when it's easiest to study those background conditions.
On June 9, 2020, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe signaled the success of its fifth close pass by the Sun, called perihelion, with a radio beacon tone. The spacecraft completed the fifth perihelion of its mission two days prior, flying within 11.6 million miles from the Sun's surface, reaching a top speed of about 244,225 miles per hour, which matches the spacecraft’s own records for closest human-made object to the Sun and fastest human-made object, set during its fourth orbit on January 29.
On May 9, 2020, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe began its longest observation campaign to date. The spacecraft, which has already completed four progressively closer orbits around the Sun, activated its instruments at a distance of 62.5 million miles from the Sun’s surface, some 39 million miles farther from the Sun than a typical solar encounter.
NASA’s Parker Solar Probe team released a second collection of science data to the public on April 14, 2020. The release includes science data from all four of Parker Solar Probe's instrument suites, spanning the mission’s third orbit around the Sun, which began on June 18, 2019 and completed on November 15, 2019.
Researchers using Parker Solar Probe data released a new wave of research papers in a special supplement of The Astrophysical Journal on Feb. 3, 2020. The supplement, titled Early Results from Parker Solar Probe: Ushering a New Frontier in Space Exploration, includes some 47 papers with new findings based on the mission's first three solar flybys.
NASA’s Parker Solar Probe is healthy and operating as designed following its fourth close approach to the Sun, called perihelion, on Jan. 29. Mission controllers at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, received a “status A” beacon from the spacecraft at 5:20 a.m.
University of Chicago professor emeritus Eugene Parker, for whom Parker Solar Probe is named, has been awarded the 2020 Crafoord Prize in Astronomy “for pioneering and fundamental studies of the solar wind and magnetic fields from stellar to galactic scales."The Crafoord Prize is awarded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in partnership with the Crafoord Foundation in Lund, Sweden."I am humbled by the award of the Crafoord Prize,” said Parker, now 92.
At 4:37 a.m. EST on Jan. 29, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe broke speed and distance records as it completed its fourth close approach of the Sun. The spacecraft traveled 11.6 million miles from the Sun’s surface at perihelion, reaching a speed of 244,225 miles per hour.
NASA’s Parker Solar Probe began its fourth solar encounter today at 9:00 am EST, at a distance of about 23.3 million miles from the Sun’s surface. It will reach perihelion, its closest distance to our star, during this orbit on Jan.
There’s a wind that emanates from the Sun, and it blows not like a soft whistle, but like a hurricane’s scream. Made of electrons, protons and heavier ions, the solar wind courses through the solar system at roughly 1 million mph (1.6 million kph), barreling over everything in its path.
The Parker Solar Probe mission has named Helene Winters of the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory as project manager, effective January 6, 2020. Winters assumes this role from Patrick Hill of APL, who has moved into a new leadership position in the Laboratory’s Civil Space Mission Area.
On Dec. 26, Parker Solar Probe successfully completed its second flyby of Venus. The spacecraft used Venus to slow itself down, approaching the planet at a distance of about 1,870 miles from Venus's surface during the second gravity assist of the mission.
After nearly 17 months in space culminating with the release of new science data, Parker Solar Probe is right on course for its second Venus gravity assist maneuver. This flyby will set the spacecraft up for its fourth perihelion of the Sun, during which it will set records for spacecraft speed and closest solar distance, while continuing to gather groundbreaking data from within the Sun's corona to help scientists make new discoveries. On Dec.
Nearly a year and a half into its mission, Parker Solar Probe has returned gigabytes of data on the Sun and its atmosphere. Following the release of the very first science from the mission, five researchers presented additional new findings from Parker Solar Probe at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union on Dec.
What mysteries about our star is NASA’s Parker Solar Probe mission uncovering as it journeys closer to the Sun than any human-made object ever before? Watch this episode of NASAScience Live as experts discuss some of the first discoveries made by the spacecraft.
In August 2018, NASA's Parker Solar Probe launched to space, soon becoming the closest-ever spacecraft to the Sun. With cutting-edge scientific instruments to measure the environment around the spacecraft, Parker Solar Probe – designed, built, and managed for NASA by the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory – has completed three of 24 planned passes through never-before-explored parts of the Sun's atmosphere, the corona.
NASA will announce the first results from the Parker Solar Probe mission, the agency's revolutionary mission to "touch" the Sun, during a media teleconference at 1:30 p.m. EST Wednesday, Dec.
It takes a lot of teamwork, skill, and expertise to get any space mission off the ground—particularly humanity’s first-ever spacecraft built to fly through the Sun’s atmosphere.
Parker Solar Probe has been awarded the NASA Silver Achievement Medal in recognition of its “stellar achievement” as humanity’s first mission to explore the Sun’s corona and the solar wind within the extreme environment around our star.The medal is awarded to government and non-government individuals or teams by NASA center directors “when it is deemed to be extraordinarily important and appropriate to recognize such achievement.” The medal was announced earlier this year at the NASA 2019 Agency Honor Awards at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.During a Nov.
On Nov. 12, 2019, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe team released scientific data collected during the spacecraft's first two solar orbits to the general public. Data can be accessed through the NASA Space Physics Data Facility, the Solar Data Analysis Center, the APL Parker Solar Probe Gateway, and the Science Operation Centers of the four science investigation teams (the University of California, Berkeley; Princeton University; Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics; and Naval Research Laboratory.) The newly released data, in the form of data files and graphical displays, is available for interested public users to manipulate, analyze, and plot in any way they choose.
At just before 1:50 pm EDT on Sept. 1, 2019, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe completed its third close approach (or perihelion) of the Sun. At the time of perihelion, the spacecraft was about 15 million miles from the Sun’s surface, traveling at more than 213,200 miles per hour.
After Parker Solar Probe’s successful first year in space, the mission team has decided to extend science observations as the spacecraft approaches its third solar encounter. Parker Solar Probe turned on its four instrument suites on Aug.
Since NASA's Parker Solar Probe launched on Aug. 12, 2018, Earth has made a single trip around the Sun — while the daring solar explorer is well into its third orbit around our star.
As NASA’s Parker Solar Probe approaches its third encounter with the Sun, mission scientists are hard at work poring over data from the spacecraft's first two flybys of our star — and thanks to excellent performance by the spacecraft and the mission operations team, they're about to get something extra.
It’s one of the greatest and longest-running mysteries surrounding, quite literally, our sun—why is its outer atmosphere hotter than its fiery surface? University of Michigan researchers believe they have the answer, and hope to prove it with help from NASA’s Parker Solar Probe.
Parker Solar Probe has successfully completed its second close approach to the Sun, called perihelion, and is now entering the outbound phase of its second solar orbit. At 6:40 p.m.
Patrick Hill of the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) has been named the Parker Solar Probe project manager effective April 1, 2019. In this new role, he will be responsible for overall mission success and execution, including the collection and analysis of science data, sustained flight spacecraft engineering, and mission operations.
On March 30, 2019, Parker Solar Probe begins the second solar encounter phase of its mission, culminating in its closest approach to the Sun, called perihelion, on April 4. During this solar encounter phase, which lasts until April 10, the spacecraft's four suites of science instruments are fully operational and storing science data collected from within the Sun's corona.
The Parker Solar Probe team has been named the winner of the 2018 Neil Armstrong Space Flight Achievement Award, given by the American Astronautical Society at its 57th Robert H. Goddard Memorial Symposium in Silver Spring, Maryland.
On Jan. 19, 2019, just 161 days after its launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe completed its first orbit of the Sun, reaching the point in its orbit farthest from our star, called aphelion.
As NASA’s Parker Solar Probe begins the second of 24 planned orbits—on track for its second perihelion, or closest approach to the Sun, on April 4, 2019—take a look back to how the spacecraft was built at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Maryland.
Weeks after Parker Solar Probe made the closest-ever approach to a star, the science data from the first solar encounter is just making its way into the hands of the mission's scientists.
NASA’s Parker Solar Probe – humanity’s first mission to “touch” the Sun – was today named the innovation of the year by Popular Science. The revolutionary spacecraft – designed, built, and operated for NASA by the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland – launched on August 12, 2018.
On Nov. 16, Parker Solar Probe reported that all systems are operating well in the first detailed performance and health update sent to Earth by the spacecraft since its first solar encounter.
Parker Solar Probe is alive and well after skimming by the Sun at just 15 million miles from our star's surface. This is far closer than any spacecraft has ever gone — the previous record was set by Helios B in 1976 and broken by Parker on Oct.
At about 10:28 p.m. EST on Nov. 5, Parker Solar Probe will achieve its first perihelion - its first close approach to the Sun - and will come within 15 million miles of the Sun's surface.
On Oct. 31, 2018, Parker Solar Probe began its first of 24 solar encounters. This period — which lasts until Nov. 11 — is the time during which the spacecraft is within 0.25 astronomical units, or 23.2 million miles, of the Sun's center.
At about 10:54 p.m. EDT on Oct. 29, Parker Solar Probe surpassed 153,454 miles per hour — as calculated by the mission team — making it the fastest-ever human-made object relative to the Sun.
Parker Solar Probe now holds the record for closest approach to the Sun by a human-made object. The spacecraft passed the current record of 26.55 million miles from the Sun's surface on Oct.
On Sept. 25, 2018, Parker Solar Probe captured a view of Earth as it sped toward the first Venus gravity assist of the mission. Earth is the bright, round object visible in the right side of the image.
Two days after NASA’s Parker Solar Probe flew past Venus toward its rendezvous with the Sun, the spacecraft had drawn close enough to our star that its power-generating solar array wings began to tilt themselves inward – a task directed by the spacecraft itself, based on the rising temperatures – away from the Sun and behind the sun shield.
On Oct. 3, 2018, Parker Solar Probe performed the first significant celestial maneuver of its seven-year mission. As the orbits of the spacecraft and Venus converged toward the same point, Parker Solar Probe slipped in front of the planet, allowing Venus' gravity — relatively small by celestial standards — to twist its path and change its speed.
On Oct. 3, Parker Solar Probe successfully completed its flyby of Venus at a distance of about 1,500 miles during the first Venus gravity assist of the mission. These gravity assists will help the spacecraft tighten its orbit closer and closer to the Sun over the course of the mission.Detailed data from the flyby will be assessed over the next few days.
We like to call Parker Solar Probe the coolest, hottest, fastest mission under the Sun — and fall 2018 will prove why. Here are a few mission milestones to look forward to over the coming months.
As Parker Solar Probe – named for pioneering solar scientist Eugene Parker – rose from Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station into the skies above Florida in the early morning hours of Aug.
Just over a month into its mission, Parker Solar Probe has returned first-light data from each of its four instrument suites. These early observations – while not yet examples of the key science observations Parker Solar Probe will take closer to the Sun – show that each of the instruments is working well.
On Sept. 13, Parker Solar Probe's first-of-its-kind water-cooled Solar Array Cooling System (or SACS) was made fully operational. The SACS will protect Parker Solar Probe’s solar arrays — responsible for powering the spacecraft — from the intense heat of the Sun.
Watch in 360 degrees as Parker Solar Probe launches aboard a Delta IV Heavy rocket lifts off from Space Launch Complex-37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The spacecraft lifted off at 3:31 a.m.
You can now track the position and speed of Parker Solar Probe on the web: http://parkersolarprobe.jhuapl.edu/The-Mission/index.php#Where-Is-PSP The plots showing the spacecraft’s heliocentric velocity, distances from the Sun and Earth, and round-trip light time to Earth update every hour.
Parker Solar Probe continues to bring its instruments and secondary systems online — slightly ahead of schedule — as it speeds away from Earth. On Friday, Aug. 31, flight controllers at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland performed a second planned Trajectory Correction Maneuver (TCM-2), a thruster burn which lasted for 35.2 seconds.
At 6:07 a.m. EDT on Aug. 20, 2018, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe successfully completed its first trajectory correction maneuver (known as TCM-1), achieving a near-perfect firing of its propulsion system and putting the spacecraft on course to “touch” the Sun.
Just two days after launch on Aug. 12, 2018, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe achieved several planned milestones toward full commissioning and operations, announced mission controllers at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, or APL, in Laurel, Maryland.
Hours before the rise of the very star it will study, 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 launch team is targeting 3:53 a.m. EDT for liftoff of the United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket carrying NASA's Parker Solar Probe. The countdown is in progress at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Space Launch Complex 37.
The launch of a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy carrying the Parker Solar Probe spacecraft was scrubbed today due to a violation of a launch limit, resulting in a hold. There was not enough time remaining in the window to recycle.
NASA’s Parker Solar Probe, secured inside its payload fairing, was moved July 30, 2018, from nearby Astrotech Space Operations in Titusville, Florida, to Space Launch Complex 37 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
Teams preparing for launch of NASA’s Parker Solar Probe are beginning a busy week leading up to liftoff, scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 11, at 3:33 a.m. EDT, the opening of a 65-minute window.
NASA and its mission partners have analyzed and approved an extended launch window for Parker Solar Probe until Aug. 23, 2018 (previously Aug. 19). The spacecraft is scheduled to launch no earlier than Aug.
NASA’s Parker Solar Probe has cleared the final procedures in the clean room before its move to the launch pad, where it will be integrated onto its launch vehicle, a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy.
Even though our Sun shines bright in the sky, it is shrouded in mystery. In this episode of NASA's Rocket Ranch podcast, we hear from Parker Solar Probe project scientist Nicky Fox, who explains how the mission will fly inside the Sun's atmosphere in order to unlock its many secrets.
Take a tour of the Integrated Science Investigation of the Sun—IS☉IS, pronounced ee-sis and including the symbol for the Sun in its acronym—on board Parker Solar Probe with Principal Investigator David McComas.
NASA and its mission partners are targeting Aug. 11 for the launch of the Parker Solar Probe mission to the Sun. The 45-minute launch window will open at 3:48 a.m. EDT. During final inspections following the encapsulation of the spacecraft, a small strip of foam was found inside the fairing and additional time is needed for inspection.
NASA will hold a preview briefing on the agency’s Parker Solar Probe at 1 p.m. EDT Friday, July 20. The event will air live on NASA Television, the agency’s website and Facebook Live.
NASA now is targeting launch of the Parker Solar Probe no earlier than Aug. 6, 2018. Additional time was needed to evaluate the configuration of a cable clamp on the payload fairing.
The launch of Parker Solar Probe, the mission that will get closer to the Sun than any human-made object has ever gone, is quickly approaching, and on June 27, 2018, Parker Solar Probe’s heat shield — called the Thermal Protection System, or TPS — was installed on the spacecraft.
NASA and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory are now targeting launch of the agency’s Parker Solar Probe spacecraft no earlier than Aug. 4, 2018. Originally scheduled to launch on July 31, additional time is needed to accommodate further software testing of spacecraft systems.
NASA’s Parker Solar Probe depends on the Sun, not just as an object of scientific investigation, but also for the power that drives its instruments and systems. On Thursday, May 31, 2018, the spacecraft’s solar arrays were installed and tested.
Throughout its seven-year mission, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe will swoop through the Sun’s atmosphere 24 times, getting closer to our star than any spacecraft has gone before. The spacecraft will carry more than scientific instruments on this historic journey – it will also hold more than 1.1 million names submitted by the public to go to the Sun.
NASA’s Parker Solar Probe gets its power from the Sun, so the solar arrays that collect energy from our star need to be in perfect working order. This month, members of the mission team tested the arrays at Astrotech Space Operations in Titusville, Florida, to ensure the system performs as designed and provides power to the spacecraft during its historic mission to the Sun.
NASA’s Parker Solar Probe will carry 1,137,202 submitted and confirmed names on its journey to the Sun. Submissions opened on March 6, 2018, and closed on April 27 at 11:59 p.m. EDT.
NASA’s Parker Solar Probe is moved to a special stand and rotated down to a horizontal position on April 10 during pre-launch processing and testing at Astrotech Space Operations in Titusville, Florida, just outside Kennedy Space Center.
On the morning of Tuesday, April 17, 2018, crews from United Launch Alliance raised the 170-foot tall Delta IV Heavy launch vehicle – the largest and most powerful rocket currently used by NASA – at Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
The Thermal Protection System — also known as the heat shield — for NASA’s Parker Solar Probe arrived in Titusville, Florida, on April 18, 2018, bringing it one step closer to reuniting with the spacecraft that will be the first to “touch” the Sun.
NASA’s Parker Solar Probe has arrived in Florida to begin final preparations for its launch to the Sun, scheduled for July 31, 2018. In the middle of the night on April 2, the spacecraft was driven from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, to nearby Joint Base Andrews in Maryland.
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.
Want to get the hottest ticket this summer without standing in line?NASA is inviting people around the world to submit their names online to be placed on a microchip aboard NASA’s historic Parker Solar Probe mission launching in summer 2018.
On Saturday, Jan. 27, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe began space environment testing, starting with the air being pumped out of the 40-foot-tall thermal vacuum chamber at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland where the spacecraft is currently housed.
On Wednesday, Jan. 17, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe was lowered into the 40-foot-tall thermal vacuum chamber at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. The spacecraft will remain in the chamber for about seven weeks, coming out in mid-March for final tests and packing before heading to Florida.
Watch this presentation on how NASA’s Parker Solar Probe and ESA’s Solar Orbiter missions will study the Sun separately and combine their science findings to give us an unprecedented understanding of our star.
How do you prepare to move the first spacecraft to touch the Sun? Same way you would move anything else: carefully wrap it, pack it in a large container, and perform a nitrogen purge.
To protect NASA's Parker Solar Probe from the intense heat of the Sun's atmosphere, scientists and engineers developed a revolutionary Thermal Protection System, or TPS. This heat shield, made of carbon-carbon composite material, will experience temperatures of almost 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit (1,370 Celsius) as the spacecraft hurtles through the solar atmosphere, while keeping the instruments on the spacecraft at approximately room temperature.The heat shield recently moved from the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab (APL) in Laurel, Maryland to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt to undergo testing in their large Thermal Vacuum Chamber.
NASA’s Parker Solar Probe passed laser illumination testing the week of Nov. 27, 2017. During this test, each segment of the spacecraft’s solar panels was illuminated with lasers to check that they were still electrically connected after the vigorous vibration and acoustic testing completed earlier this fall.
When NASA’s Parker Solar Probe lifts off on top of a Delta IV Heavy launch vehicle in summer 2018, it will undergo both intense vibration from the physical forces of the rocket engines, as well as acoustic effects from the sound of the engines and the rocket going through the atmosphere.
“Gravity Assist,” a new NASA weekly podcast series, launches Wednesday on NASA.gov and the SoundCloud and iTunes audio platforms. This initial 10-part series, with plans for future episodes, features top scientists from around the world guiding listeners on a tour through our galactic neighborhood as they explore the wonders of the solar system and beyond.
Time-lapse video shows the packing up and moving of the Parker Solar Probe spacecraft from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, to NASA'S Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt.
On Monday, November 6, NASA's Parker Solar Probe spacecraft arrived at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland - a short drive from the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, where the spacecraft was designed and built.
To ensure that NASA's Parker Solar Probe will be able to withstand the physical stresses of launch, engineers at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory – where the probe was designed and is being integrated and tested – used a special device called a shaker table to simulate the forces of being hurled into space.
NASA’s Parker Solar Probe – shown in protective bagging to prevent contamination, and mounted on a rotating pedestal – is getting ready for its trip from the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab to Goddard Space Flight Center to continue environmental testing.
NASA’s Parker Solar Probe, the first mission to fly into the Sun’s corona, has successfully completed a review that approves the beginning of the spacecraft’s environmental testing.
As NASA's Parker Solar Probe continues through its careful construction process, the spacecraft – built for NASA by the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland – is approaching the final stages and running through a battery of tests to ensure it will be ready for its groundbreaking mission to the Sun next summer.
New augmented reality technology developed by NASA allows the Parker Solar Probe spacecraft team to explore, rehearse, and perfect their fabrication and integration procedures—all in an immersive digital environment.
On Tuesday, October 3, 2017, Eugene N. Parker, professor emeritus at the University of Chicago, visited the spacecraft that bears his name: NASA’s Parker Solar Probe. This is the first NASA mission that has been named for a living researcher, and is humanity’s first mission to the Sun.
On Sept. 21, 2017, engineers at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, lowered the thermal protection system – the heat shield – onto the spacecraft for a test of alignment as part of integration and testing.
Rewatch the Facebook Live as NASA took us on a behind-the-scenes look at the upcoming Parker Solar Probe! Come inside the clean room at Johns Hopkins APL and learn more about this historic mission, the revolutionary spacecraft, and the people who are making it possible https://www.facebook.com/NAS
All components of the United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket that will launch NASA’s Parker Solar Probe have arrived for prelaunch processing at Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
Launch preparations are beginning to get off the ground for NASA’s upcoming Parker Solar Probe mission, scheduled to lift off in summer 2018 atop a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket.
As NASA’s Parker Solar Probe spacecraft begins its first historic encounter with the sun’s corona in late 2018—flying closer to our star than any other mission in history—a revolutionary cooling system will keep its solar arrays at peak performance, even in extremely hostile conditions.Every instrument and system on board Parker Solar Probe (with the exception of four antennas and a special particle detector) will be hidden from the sun behind a breakthrough thermal protection system (TPS)—an eight-foot diameter shield that the spacecraft uses to defend itself against the intense heat and energy of our star.
CHICAGO – NASA has renamed the Solar Probe Plus spacecraft – humanity’s first mission to a star, which will launch in 2018 – as the Parker Solar Probe in honor of astrophysicist Eugene Parker.
NASA will make an announcement about the agency’s first mission to fly directly into our sun’s atmosphere during an event at 11 a.m. EDT Wednesday, May 31, from the University of Chicago’s William Eckhardt Research Center Auditorium.
With a few electrical connections and several turns of a wrench, Solar Probe Plus had its first onboard scientific instrument. The EPI-Lo particle detector – half of the Integrated Science Investigation of the Sun instrument suite – was installed on the spacecraft on April 17 at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland.
The Solar Array Cooling System on Solar Probe Plus has one critical job – to protect the NASA spacecraft’s solar arrays from incineration as it moves through the blazing atmosphere of the sun.
Solar Probe Plus Project Scientist Dr. Nicola Fox at TEDxJHU was live on Facebook (@1:03) on March 11,2017.
Solar Probe Plus Project Scientist Nicky Fox, of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), was featured in a Discovery Channel Facebook Live event on Feb. 8, 2017.
The science of Solar Probe Plus – NASA’s first mission to “touch” the sun – was on stage last month at the American Geophysical Union’s Fall Meeting in San Francisco. With some 25,000 attendees, representing nearly 100 countries, AGU’s Fall Meeting is the world’s largest Earth and space science conference.
NASA's Solar Probe Plus – the first mission that will fly into sun's upper atmosphere and “touch” the sun – has passed a design review, an important milestone leading to its anticipated summer 2018 launch.
NASA’s Solar Probe Plus mission - which will fly closer to the Sun than any spacecraft has before- reached a major milestone last month when it successfully completed its Critical Design Review (CDR).
Solar Probe Plus — NASA’s ambitious mission to fly through and examine the sun’s atmosphere — has reached a key stage of development. Solar Probe Plus will begin advanced design, development and testing — a step NASA designates as Phase C — following a successful design review in which an independent assessment board deemed that the mission team, led by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md., was ready to move ahead with full-scale spacecraft fabrication, assembly, integration and testing.
The second annual Parker Solar Probe community workshop, Parker Two, will be a hybrid meeting from June 21 - 24, 2022 with an in-person component at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, MD, and an online component using Zoom.
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