News CenterNews Archive

Launch Memories

Posted on August 12, 2021

The Promise of Parker

Atop a powerful Delta IV rocket, Parker Solar Probe lifted into the predawn Florida skies at 3:31 am EDT on Aug. 12, 2018, embarking on an historic voyage to the Sun. The spacecraft – designed, built, and managed for NASA by the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory – transmitted its first science observations just four months later, “beginning a revolution in our understanding of the star that makes life on Earth possible.”

“This mission truly marks humanity’s first visit to a star that will have implications not just here on Earth, but how we better understand our universe,” Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, said after launch. “We’ve accomplished something that decades ago, lived solely in the realm of science fiction.”

Then project manager Andy Driesman of APL hailed the launch as the "culmination of six decades of scientific study and millions of hours of effort," the beginning of "a seven-year mission of extreme science.”

Three years into that mission, members of Parker Solar Probe team reflect on the dedicated efforts to get the spacecraft to the launch pad, the launch itself, the work to ready the spacecraft to collect unprecedented data on the solar wind and environment around the Sun, and promise of great discoveries to come.

Next: A Team that Inspires »