ULA’s Delta-4 Heavy successfully launches the Parker Solar Probe

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ULA’s Delta-4 Heavy has successfully launched the Parker Solar Probe.

As I write this the spacecraft is in orbit, but there are several more steps needed to confirm the spacecraft is on course, including a second burn of the upper stage, its separation from the spacecraft, followed by the firing of the solid rocket kick stage and then its separation from the spacecraft. All these steps will take another 40 minutes or so, so reporting them will have to wait until tomorrow.

Update: The spacecraft has successfully separated from its last stage and is on its way.

Over the next two months, Parker Solar Probe will fly towards Venus, performing its first Venus gravity assist in early October – a maneuver a bit like a handbrake turn – that whips the spacecraft around the planet, using Venus’s gravity to trim the spacecraft’s orbit tighter around the Sun. This first flyby will place Parker Solar Probe in position in early November to fly as close as 15 million miles from the Sun – within the blazing solar atmosphere, known as the corona – closer than anything made by humanity has ever gone before.

The leaders in the 2018 launch standings:

22 China
15 SpaceX
8 Russia
4 Japan
4 Europe

The U.S. and China are once again tied in the national rankings, 22 each.



  • wayne

    a repeat from me, from another thread, but highly relevant:

    “NASA explains why Parker Solar Probe won’t melt as it travels to Sun”

  • Max

    If successful, this will change everything we know about our Sun. Or everything that we haven’t admitted to since the Soho satellite confirmed Parker’s observations over 20 years ago.

    “Eugene Newman Parker”
    “In the mid-1950s, a young physicist named Eugene Parker proposed a number of concepts about how stars — including our sun — give off energy. He called this cascade of energy the solar wind, and he described an entire complex system of plasmas, magnetic fields and energetic particles that make up this phenomenon. Parker also theorized an explanation for the superheated solar corona, which is — contrary to what was expected by then-known physics laws — hotter than the surface of the sun itself. His theory suggested that regular, but small, solar explosions called nanoflares could, in enough abundance, cause this heating.”

    Of course back then they referred to them as “Micro flares”, which took the path of least resistance through the sun’s thick atmosphere of hydrogen to the plasmasphere “corona”

    From Zimmermans posted link above;
    “Parker Solar Probe will set its sights on the corona to solve long-standing, foundational mysteries of our Sun. What is the secret of the scorching corona, which is more than 300 times hotter than the Sun’s surface, thousands of miles below? What drives the supersonic solar wind – the constant stream of solar material that blows through the entire solar system? And finally, what accelerates solar energetic particles, which can reach speeds up to more than half the speed of light as they rocket away from the Sun?”

    They failed to mention all “heat and light” as well as the solar wind emanates from the 2 to 3,000,000° corona.
    (Not the sun’s surface at 9,500°. All of the gas giants are hotter than this temperature under their atmosphere)
    I am curious to find out how they will spin their discoveries so that “hot fusion” doesn’t go the way of cold fusion, and hydrogen fuel cells…
    Of course we know the sun is not a nuclear furnace because to put out the energy that it does, there would need to be a factor of three minimum more neutron radiation (gamma) which would irradiate this planet lifeless on a daily basis.

  • wayne

    Pink Floyd –
    “Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun”

  • M Puckett

    “The first one said to the second one there “I hope you’re having fun!”

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