Europe’s Solar Orbiter will leave the Earth for the Sun on February 10, 2020

On the night of February 9-10, 2020, from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the Solar Orbiter probe will depart towards the Sun on board an Atlas V 411. Its cruise will last a little less than two years and its scientific mission between 5 and 9 years.

Dedicated to solar and heliospheric physics, it was selected and adopted in October 2011 as the first medium-class mission of ESA’s Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 programme, with a strong contribution from NASA. The objectives are to explore the solar wind and understand the activity of our star. Solar Orbiter will thus enable us to better characterize the Sun’s eruptive phenomena, and to understand how the Sun controls its environment and the interplanetary magnetic medium, also known as the heliosphere.

Because of its recognized scientific expertise, France contributed, via CNES, CNRS and CEA, to the realization of 6 of the 10 instruments equipping the payload. IRAP is one of the laboratories involved in this space mission.

Contact IRAP

  • Philippe Louarn, philippe.louarn@irap.omp.eu

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