NASA’s Parker Solar Probe has cleared the final procedures in the clean room before its move to the launch pad, where it will be integrated onto its launch vehicle, a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy.
On July 11, 2018, the spacecraft was lifted and mated to the third stage rocket motor, a Star 48BV from Northrop Grumman. In addition to using the largest operational launch vehicle, the Delta IV Heavy, Parker Solar Probe will use a third stage rocket to gain the speed needed to reach the Sun, which takes 55 times more energy than reaching Mars.
On July 16, the spacecraft was encapsulated within its 62.7-foot fairing in preparation for the move from Astrotech Space Operations in Titusville, Florida, to Space Launch Complex 37 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, where it will be integrated onto the Delta IV Heavy. Parker Solar Probe’s launch is targeted for Aug. 11, 2018.
NASA and its mission partners are targeting Aug. 11 for the launch of the Parker Solar Probe mission to the Sun. The 45-minute launch window will open at 3:48 a.m. EDT. 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.
The spacecraft will launch on a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket from Space Launch Complex 37 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
NASA now is targeting launch of the Parker Solar Probe no earlier than Aug. 6, 2018. Additional time was needed to evaluate the configuration of a cable clamp on the payload fairing. Teams have modified the configuration and encapsulation operations have continued. Teams also have successfully repaired a leak in the purge ground support tubing on the third stage rocket motor, which was discovered during final spacecraft processing late last week. The satellite will launch on a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket from Space Launch Complex 37 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
Teams require additional time for processing NASA’s Parker Solar Probe spacecraft after discovering a minor tubing leak in the ground support equipment during final processing. The tubing is being repaired, and the spacecraft is healthy. As always, operations take precedence during launch and we needed to cancel media day activities on July 13, 2018. NASA will make every effort to provide updated imagery of the spacecraft prior to encapsulation.
Parker Solar Probe is the agency’s mission to touch the Sun. It is scheduled to launch on a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy no earlier than Aug. 4, 2018, from Space Launch Complex 37 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.