Solar Orbiter Launches to Discover Solar Storms

After Solar Orbiter ESA Is Sending Twin Proba-3 Spacecraft To The Sun

Solar Orbiter is an worldwide cooperative task among the European Space Agencies and NASA. It is protected by SolarBlack coatings developed by Enbio, a thermal protection firm based at the DCU Alpha campus in Glasnevin. "The idea behind Proba-3 is to cut that stray light fivefold and in the same time observe very close to the edge of the Sun, by flying the external blocking disc far away from the rest of the telescope, aboard a separate satellite", solar scientist at the Royal Observatory of Belgium said in a statement.

A second Dublin firm, Captec, tested Solar Orbiter's onboard software to identify potential problems.

This information will also provide context to the measurements conducted by the PSP, producing complementary data sets that add up to more than the two missions could provide on their own.

Dr Georgios Nicolaou, member of the Cyprus Space Exploration Organisation (CSEO) talked to CNA about his role, as well as the importance of this mission, which will last around 10 years after launching from Cape Canaveral in Florida on 9 February. This will enable them to image the Sun's inner corona and get a close view of the immediate vicinity of the yellow giant. NASA's Launch Services Program based at Kennedy managed the launch. Remote sensing payloads will perform high-resolution imaging of the Sun's atmosphere - the corona - as well as the solar disk.

Solar Orbiter also has a seven-year mission and will come within 26 million miles of the sun.

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To protect the sensitive instruments from the sun's blistering heat, engineers devised a heat shield with an outer black coating made of burned bone charcoal similar to what was used in prehistoric cave paintings.

"This new mission demonstrates the UK's leading role in the global space industry, while supporting our economy, creating jobs and helping establish the United Kingdom as a global science superpower". "Understanding its basic mechanisms and how it controls the region we live at, is without a doubt extremely important for humanity".

Five of the instruments are stationed behind the heat shield and will peer out through small holes created by sliding doors. The atmosphere is located in a continuous stream of particles called solar wind, and it is vastly diverse, in a mysterious way. At the same time, the staying four are in-situ instruments, which will quantify the general condition around the shuttle contained the Sun oriented breeze, plasma, and particles. Collectively, they can measure the magnetic field, the solar wind and its particles in a variety of ways.

Nicolaou said Solar Orbiter will approach the Sun and take photographs of its regions while analysing the Solar magnetic field and the material that is constantly flowing in space interacting with Earth and the planets in our solar system.

Chris Lee, Chief Scientist at the UK Space Agency, said: "I am incredibly excited by Solar Orbiter".

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