Parker Solar Probe Attached to ULA Delta IV Heavy, Prepped for Mission to the Sun

An artist rendition of NASA's Parker Solar Probe observing the sun.
An artist rendition of NASA’s Parker Solar Probe observing the Sun. Image credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Steve Gribben

NASA’s Parker Solar Probe, secured inside its payload fairing, was moved July 30, 2018, from nearby Astrotech Space Operations in Titusville, Florida, to Space Launch Complex 37 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The following day, the spacecraft was lifted and attached to the top of the United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket in the Vertical Integration Facility.

Parker Solar Probe is being prepared for its launch, on its mission to “touch” the Sun. The spacecraft will travel directly into the Sun’s atmosphere, about 4 million miles from its surface — and more than seven times closer than any spacecraft has come before, thanks to its innovative Thermal Protection System. The mission will perform the closest-ever observations of a star when it travels through the Sun’s outer atmosphere, called the corona. The mission will rely on measurements and imaging to revolutionize our understanding of the corona and how processes there ultimately affect near-Earth space.