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After Near-Perfect Trajectory Maneuver, Parker Solar Probe On Course To Touch The Sun

21 Aug 2018, 14:00 UTC
After Near-Perfect Trajectory Maneuver, Parker Solar Probe On Course To Touch The Sun
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

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. This maneuver sets up the orbital geometry that will allow Parker Solar Probe to come within about 3.83 million miles (8.86 solar radii) of the Sun’s surface on its closest approach in 2024.
Following launch at 3:31 a.m. EDT on Aug. 12, the spacecraft control team at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, or APL, in Laurel, Maryland, analyzed Parker Solar Probe’s position and quickly developed a re-optimized trajectory to place it in the best path for the seven Venus gravity assist maneuvers and 24 solar orbits that the mission will make. Re-assessing a spacecraft’s trajectory after launch is a normal step, as the mission team is then able to accurately track the spacecraft’s actual speed, direction and position to create a more precise trajectory plan.
The United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket launches NASA’s Parker Solar Probe to touch the Sun, Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018 from Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. Credit: NASA/Bill ...

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