#astronomy European Area Company says Photo voltaic Orbiter launch delayed to 7 February – Astronomy Now
A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket — seen with out the Photo voltaic Orbiter spacecraft on high — accomplished a follow countdown at Cape Canaveral’s Advanced 41 launch pad Friday, Jan. 24. Credit score: United Launch Alliance Officers have delayed the launch of a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket with the European-built Photo
A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket — seen with out the Photo voltaic Orbiter spacecraft on high — accomplished a follow countdown at Cape Canaveral’s Advanced 41 launch pad Friday, Jan. 24. Credit score: United Launch Alliance
Officers have delayed the launch of a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket with the European-built Photo voltaic Orbiter spacecraft from Cape Canaveral by two days to 7 February, a ripple impact from time spent fixing a minor concern final week throughout a launch car countdown costume rehearsal.
The European Area Company, which leads the Photo voltaic Orbiter mission in partnership with NASA, introduced the two-day delay on Sunday. The brand new Photo voltaic Orbiter launch window opens at 11:15 p.m. EST on 7 February and extends to 1:15 a.m. on eight February (0415-0615 GMT on eight February).
The Photo voltaic Orbiter mission has a 19-day launch alternative in February — starting 5 February — to place the spacecraft on a trajectory to succeed in Venus in December, when the probe will use the planet’s gravity to slingshot into an orbit nearer to the Solar.
🚀Launch replace: @NASA @ESA & @ULAlaunch verify #SolarOrbiter launch date adjusted to 7 Feb 23:15 EST/ eight Feb 04:15 GMT/05:15 CET on account of rescheduling of the Moist Gown Rehearsal earlier this week.https://t.co/EKs4UjH1QW pic.twitter.com/NKJg1scE2R
— ESA’s Photo voltaic Orbiter (@ESASolarOrbiter) January 26, 2020
The 2-day launch delay was anticipated after ULA groups found an air con duct resulting in the Atlas 5’s Centaur higher stage grew to become disconnected Wednesday earlier than a deliberate moist costume rehearsal at Cape Canaveral’s Advanced 41 launch pad. The moist costume rehearsal is a pre-launch demonstration by which floor groups load liquid propellants into the rocket, and serves as a examine of the readiness of the Atlas 5 rocket, and a follow run for ULA’s launch crew.
ULA rolled the Atlas 5 rocket again to its vertical hangar for inspections. Groups reconnected the umbilical between the Atlas 5 and its cellular launch pad after figuring out that gusty winds seemingly dislodged the duct.
After returning the Atlas 5 rocket to pad 41 Thursday, ULA accomplished the countdown demonstration Friday, loading super-cold liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen into the launcher. The Atlas 5 returned to the Vertical Integration Facility, or VIF, south of pad 41 Saturday, the place ULA crews will prepared the rocket for attachment of the Photo voltaic Orbiter spacecraft.
Photo voltaic Orbiter was encapsulated contained in the Atlas 5 rocket’s Four-metre-diameter (13.1-foot) payload fairing 20 January on the Astrotech payload processing facility in close by Titusville. Groups will switch the spacecraft — contained in the Atlas 5’s aerodynamic shroud — to pad 41 within the coming days for lifting atop the Atlas 5 rocket contained in the VIF.
The Photo voltaic Orbiter spacecraft was encapsulated contained in the Atlas 5 rocket’s payload fairing Jan. 20. Credit score: NASA/Ben Smegelsky
For the Photo voltaic Orbiter mission, the Atlas 5 will fly within the rarely-used “411” configuration with a Four-metre fairing, a single strap-on stable rocket booster, and a Centaur higher stage powered by a single RL10 engine. Photo voltaic Orbiter’s launch will mark the 82nd flight of an Atlas 5 rocket since 2002, and simply the sixth Atlas 5 to make use of the 411 model.
Ten scientific devices aboard Photo voltaic Orbiter will measure the Solar’s output and take the primary detailed photographs of the Solar’s poles.
Scientists will use knowledge from Photo voltaic Orbiter, in tandem with measurements from NASA’s Parker Photo voltaic Probe, to raised perceive what causes the photo voltaic wind, and what drives the 11-year photo voltaic cycle. After a sequence of gravity help flybys of Venus, Photo voltaic Orbiter’s trajectory across the Solar will change into tilted away from the aircraft of the planets, permitting the spacecraft to take photos of the Solar’s poles for the primary time.
“Photo voltaic Orbiter is clearly a brand new class in its personal,” mentioned Günther Hasinger, director of ESA’s science program. “It has a great deal of devices, which can go not as shut as Parker Photo voltaic Probe, however fairly shut. Photo voltaic Orbiter will even have eyes. Parker Photo voltaic Probe can solely sense and measure the plasma and the magnetic subject, however Photo voltaic Orbiter additionally has six devices that may actually have a look at the Solar, which is sort of a problem if you assume it’s reaching an setting the place it’s about 600 levels Celsius (1,100 levels Fahrenheit). It’s like being in a pizza oven, so you need to just be sure you don’t burn the devices.”
Parker Photo voltaic Probe, launched in 2018, faces a lot hotter situations, the place scorching temperatures would soften any digicam uncovered to the Solar.
E-mail the writer.
Comply with Stephen Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1.