Safe in the Shadow: Making Sure Solar Probe’s Instruments Keep Cool

A spacecraft is held at an approximately 45 degree angle on a stand inside a clean room.

NASA’s Parker Solar Probe is rotated down to a horizontal position during pre-launch processing and testing on April 10, 2018, at Astrotech Space Operations in Titusville, Florida, just outside Kennedy Space Center. Once horizontal, the integration and testing team will measure the alignment of the heat shield mounting points with respect to the spacecraft structure. This is done to assure that the umbra (or shadow) cast by the heat shield – called the Thermal Protection System – protects the spacecraft and instruments.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman