A United Launch Alliance Delta 4-Heavy rocket, crowned by a solid-fueled upper stage kick motor, will send NASA’s Parker Solar Probe on a speedy voyage through the inner solar system following liftoff from Cape Canaveral.
The 233-foot-tall (71-meter) launcher is set for liftoff from Cape Canaveral’s Complex 37B launch pad powered by three Aerojet Rocketdyne RS-68A main engines.
The Delta 4-Heavy has flown nine times before, and is made up of three modified Delta 4 first stage cores bolted together. The all-cryogenic launcher burns a mixture of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen.
The $1.5 billion Parker Solar Probe mission will become the first spacecraft to travel inside the sun’s corona, a scorching region of plasma extending a few million miles away from our star’s surface. The mission’s objectives include helping scientists unravel how the solar wind is heated and accelerated into the solar system, impacting the planets, including our own.
The timeline below is a rough approximation of the timing of the major launch events for the Delta 4-Heavy launch with Parker Solar Probe. The exact timing changes day-to-day based on the launch date in the mission’s interplanetary window, which extends to Aug. 23.
Date source: ULA
T+00:00:00 — Liftoff
T+00:03:57.6 — Port and Starboard Booster Jettison
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said Saturday that China is failing to meet “responsible standards” on space debris after a massive Long March rocket stage fell back to Earth over the Indian Ocean in an uncontrolled re-entry that is likely to be repeated with additional launches next year.
A United Launch Alliance Delta 4-Heavy rocket climbed into space Sunday with NASA’s Parker Solar Probe on a daring mission to explore the atmosphere of the sun. Liftoff from Cape Canaveral occurred at 3:31 a.m. EDT (0731 GMT).