Solar Orbiter Sun-Exploring Mission To Blast Off From Cape Canaveral Late On Sunday - ESA

WASHINGTON (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 10th February, 2020) The new Sun-exploring mission of the European Space Agency (ESA), Solar Orbiter, will be launched late on Sunday from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, ESA has announced.

The launch is set for 04:03 GMT on Monday (23:03 local time on Sunday). The Solar Orbiter will be launched using the United Launch Alliance's (ULA) Atlas V carrier rocket.

"Solar Orbiter will separate from the rocket about 53 minutes after launch and is expected to send its first signal to the ground shortly thereafter. The signal acquisition will be announced from the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC), in Darmstadt, Germany, which will operate the entire mission," ESA said on its website.

Solar Orbiter will allow scientists to view some never-before-seen regions of the Sun and to study the star's activity, such as the formation of solar winds, according to ESA.

"Solar Orbiter will get as close as 42 million km to the Sun, about a quarter of the distance between the Sun and Earth. The spacecraft and its components, including its 18-m solar array (as measured from tip to tip), were designed to survive in the scorching temperatures of up to 500C and withstand constant bombardment by highly charged particles of the solar wind for at least seven years," ESA said.

The new Sun-exploring mission is also expected to provide scientists with data on the Sun's magnetic field.