NASA’s Parker Solar Probe mission slips 5 days
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — NASA’s mission to “touch the Sun” will have to wait a couple more days before blazing a trail toward Earth’s parent star. The space agency said Tuesday that more inspection time is needed for the Parker Solar Probe.
The spacecraft, which has been given the task of probing the Sun’s corona, had originally been slated to take flight atop a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket on Aug. 4, 2018, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 37. However, that was recently pushed back to Aug. 6.
Then on July 24, NASA announced the new target liftoff time was the opening of a 45-minute launch window that opens at 3:48 a.m. EDT (07:48 GMT) Aug. 11.
“During final inspections following the encapsulation of the spacecraft, a small strip of foam was found inside the fairing and additional time is needed for inspection,” NASA’s statement reads.
The Parker Solar Probe mission was announced during the 2009 budget year. The spacecraft was both designed and constructed by Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory and was originally anticipated to be sent aloft in 2015. It is named after physicist Eugene Parker, marking the first time one of NASA’s spacecraft was named after a living person.
Jason Rhian spent several years honing his skills with internships at NASA, the National Space Society and other organizations. He has provided content for outlets such as: Aviation Week & Space Technology, Space.com, The Mars Society and Universe Today.