ibusinesslines.com December 11, 2018

Solar spacecraft smashes records for speed and proximity to the Sun

01 November 2018, 08:15 | Justin Tyler

Image The probe is named in honour of astrophysicist Dr Eugene Parker

The probe is named in honour of astrophysicist Dr Eugene Parker

The previous record was set by the German-American spacecraft Helios 2.

29 Oct 2018 spacecraft, which was launched to study solar phenomena, was so close to the star that broke the record for the closest approach to the sun, according to NASA.

For the record, the Sun is about 149.6 million kilometres from Earth. The spacecraft will study the sun during 24 close flybys over the next seven years, getting closer and closer to our star with each encounter.

The previous record was held by the Helios 2 craft, which was launched from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force station in 1976. The report also says that on October 30 at 05:54 Moscow time the probe was supposed to break another record - the speed limit where the spacecraft was approaching our star.

NASA's Parker Solar Probe, which launched earlier this year, has set a new record for becoming the closest human-made object to the Sun, the United States space agency announced Monday.

Back in 1976, Helios 2 made mark for fastest speed relative to the Sun at 246,960 km/hr. The Parker Solar Probe is expected to best that today as well, reaching higher speeds at about 10:54 p.m. EDT (0254 GMT on October 30), NASA officials said. The probe will fly through the corona for the first time this week, and it will be only 15 million miles away from the sun's surface. It will reach its first perihelion, or point closest to the Sun, at about 10:28 p.m. EST on November 5, according to NASA.

While Parker is in orbit around the Sun seven years, if the earlier does not fail.

Each of these assists will see the probe use Venus' gravitational pull to drain some more of its orbital energy.

"It's a proud moment for the team", Project Manager Andy Driesman said, "though we remain focused on our first solar encounter, which begins on October 31." .

To withstand the heat of almost 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit, the probe is protected by a special 4.5-inch-thick carbon-composite shield.

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