A mission years in the planning and building will take its next great leap Sunday evening as the European Space Agency’s Solar Orbiter blasts off on a 7-year mission to study the Sun.
The probe will launch atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 411 rocket from SLC-41 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, in a 2-hour launch window that opens at 23:03 EST Sunday evening (04:03 UTC Monday morning).
During the two-hour launch window, there are 25 single-second instantaneous opportunities — one every 5 minutes — in which Atlas V can launch owing to the ever-changing trajectories needed to insert Solar Orbiter into an interplanetary transfer heliocentric orbit to Venus.
Launch of Solar Orbiter was scheduled to occur just 5 hours 24 minutes after Northrop Grumman launched their Antares 230+ rocket with the NG-13 Cygnus cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station. However, the Antares launch was scrubbed.
See AlsoAtlas V/Solar Orbiter CoverageULA SectionL2 ULA SectionClick here to Join L2
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