07 March 2018

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NASA in Depth Facts Timeline about 1st Mission to Sun Parker Sun Probe

NASA in Depth Facts Timeline about 1st Mission to Sun Parker Sun Probe

The concept for a "Solar Probe" dates back to "Simpson's Committee" of the Space Science Board (National Academy of Sciences, 24 October 1958).

We live in the sun's atmosphere!

Parker Solar Probe will be a historic mission, flying into the sun's atmosphere (or corona) for the first time. Coming closer to the sun than any previous spacecraft, Parker Solar Probe will employ a combination of in situ measurements and imaging to achieve the mission's primary scientific goal: to understand how the sun's corona is heated and how the solar wind is accelerated. Parker Solar Probe will revolutionize our knowledge of the origin and evolution of the solar wind.

This mission will provide insight on a critical link in the Sun-Earth connection. Data will be key to understanding and, perhaps, forecasting space weather.

We need to go so close because:
The corona is unstable, producing the solar wind, flares and coronal mass ejections – we need to study at the source!
Millions of tons of highly magnetized material can erupt from the sun at speeds of several million miles an hour – fast enough to get from Washington to LA in seconds!

The need for extraordinary knowledge of sun from remote observations, theory, and modeling to answer the questions:

Why is the solar corona so much hotter than the photosphere?
How is the solar wind accelerated?

Parker Solar Probe will swoop to within 4 million miles of the sun's surface, facing heat and radiation like no spacecraft before it. Launching in 2018, Parker Solar Probe will provide new data on solar activity and make critical contributions to our ability to forecast major space-weather events that impact life on Earth.

Parker Solar Probe is an extraordinary and historic mission exploring arguably the last and most important region of the solar system to be visited by a spacecraft to finally answer top-priority science goals for over five decades.

One recent study by the National Academy of Sciences estimated that without advance warning a huge solar event could cause two trillion dollars in damage in the US alone, and the eastern seaboard of the US could be without power for a year.

In order to unlock the mysteries of the corona, but also to protect a society that is increasingly dependent on technology from the threats of space weather, NASA will send Parker Solar Probe to touch the sun.

NASA's historic Parker Solar Probe (SPP) mission will revolutionize our understanding of the Sun. SPP will swoop closer to the Sun’s surface than any spacecraft before it, facing brutal heat and radiation conditions.

The spacecraft will come as close as 3.9 million miles (6.2 million kilometers) to the Sun, well within the orbit of Mercury and more than seven times closer than any spacecraft has come before.

To perform these unprecedented investigations, the spacecraft and instruments will be protected from the Sun’s heat by a 4.5-inch-thick (11.43 cm) carbon-composite shield, which will need to withstand temperatures outside the spacecraft that reach nearly 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit (1,377 degrees Celsius).

The primary science goals for the mission are to trace the flow of energy and understand the heating of the solar corona and to explore what accelerates the solar wind. Parker Solar Probe provides a statistical survey of the outer corona.

Parker Solar Probe has three detailed science objectives:
A-Trace the flow of energy that heats and accelerates the solar corona and solar wind.
b-Determine the structure and dynamics of the plasma and magnetic fields at the sources of the solar wind.
c-Explore mechanisms that accelerate and transport energetic particles.

Parker Solar Probe will swoop to within 4 million miles of the sun's surface, facing heat and radiation like no spacecraft before it. To get there, it takes an innovative route.

Parker Solar Probe will use seven Venus flybys over nearly seven years to gradually shrink its orbit around the sun, coming as close as 3.7 million miles (5.9 million kilometers) to the sun, well within the orbit of Mercury and about eight times closer than any spacecraft has come before.

Parker Solar Probe is a true mission of exploration; for example, the spacecraft will go close enough to the sun to watch the solar wind speed up from subsonic to supersonic, and it will fly though the birthplace of the highest-energy solar particles. Still, as with any great mission of discovery, Parker Solar Probe is likely to generate more questions than it answers.

 24 Orbits
 7 Venus gravity assist flybys

On the final three orbits, Parker Solar Probe will fly to within 9 solar radii of the sun's "surface" 9 solar radii is 9 times the radius of the sun, or about 3.9 million miles. That is about seven times closer than the current record-holder for a close solar pass, the Helios spacecraft.
At closest approach, Parker Solar Probe will be hurtling around the sun at approximately 450,000 miles per hour! That's fast enough to get from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C., in one second.
At closest approach to the sun, while the front of Parker Solar Probe' solar shield faces temperatures approaching 1,400° Celsius, the spacecraft's payload will be near room temperature.

At closest approach, Parker Solar Probe will be hurtling around the sun at approximately 450,000 miles per hour! That's fast enough to get from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C., in one second.

Time Line Parker Solar Probe –

Mission duration: 6 yrs., 11 months

2015 –
March: Critical Design Review (CDR)

May: System Integration Review
July: KDP-D - Successfully passed KDP-D on 7 July 2016

July: Start of Integration and Testing
Integration and test formally started on 1 July 2016 with delivery of the flight structure with the integrated Propulsion Subsystem.

Begin March 2017: Instrument Deliveries
Begin August 2017: Observatory System Testing
Fall 2017: Shipment of Observatory to GSFC

2018 -
Spring 2018: Shipment of Observatory to Cape Canaveral
July 31, 2018: Launch (current window estimate: approximately 4:15 a.m. to 6:15 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time)
September 28, 2018: Venus Flyby #1
November 1, 2018: Perihelion #1

2019 –
March 31, 2019: Perihelion #2
August 28, 2019: Perihelion #3
December 22, 2019: Venus Flyby #2

January 24, 2020: Perihelion #4
June 2, 2020: Perihelion #5
July 6, 2020: Venus Flyby #3
September 22, 2020: Perihelion #6

January 13, 2021: Perihelion #7
February 16, 2021: Venus Flyby #4
April 24, 2021: Perihelion #8
August 5, 2021: Perihelion #9
October 11, 2021: Venus Flyby #5
November 16, 2021: Perihelion #10

February 21, 2022: Perihelion #11
May 28, 2022: Perihelion #12
September 1, 2022: Perihelion #13
December 6, 2022: Perihelion #14

March 13, 2023: Perihelion #15
June 17, 2023: Perihelion #16
August 16, 2023: Venus Flyby #6
September 23, 2023: Perihelion #17
December 24, 2023: Perihelion #18

March 25, 2024: Perihelion #19
June 25, 2024: Perihelion #20
September 25, 2024: Perihelion #21
November 2, 2024: Venus Flyby #7
December 19, 2024: Perihelion #22 First Close Approach

March 18, 2025: Perihelion #23
June 14, 2025: Perihelion #24

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. Parker Solar Probe is scheduled to launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on July 31, 2018, on a Delta IV Heavy launch vehicle.

Dates:     Jul 31 – Aug 19, 2018 (20 days)
Max. Launch C3:     154 km2/s2
Launch Vehicle:     Delta IV-Heavy with Upper Stage

NASA’s Parker Solar Probe will be the first-ever mission to "touch" the sun. The spacecraft, about the size of a small car, will travel directly into the sun's atmosphere about 4 million miles from our star's surface.

Watch Video Parker Solar Probe -

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Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Tags – NASA Parker Solar Probe Facts Timeline Scientific Goal Mission