ESA science missions back in action after coronavirus-related shutdown
Photos: Atlas 5 lifts off with Solar Orbiter
Atlas 5 blasts off with Solar Orbiter
Under a brilliant moon, a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket flashed to life and vaulted away from Cape Canaveral late Sunday, boosting the European Space Agency’s $1.5 billion Solar Orbiter probe out of Earth’s gravitational grip toward a multi-year voyage around the sun that will give scientists their first glimpse of the star’s poles.
Atlas 5/Solar Orbiter launch timeline
Live coverage: Atlas 5 launches from Cape Canaveral with Solar Orbiter
A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral’s Complex 41 launch pad Sunday night with the European Space Agency’s Solar Orbiter mission, a project developed in partnership with NASA. Launch occurred right on time at the opening of a two-hour window at 11:03 p.m. EST Sunday (0403 GMT Monday).
Watch live video of the Solar Orbiter launch pad at Cape Canaveral (members only)
Decades in the making, Solar Orbiter finally meets launcher at Cape Canaveral
The European-built Solar Orbiter spacecraft was installed on top of its United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 launcher Friday at Cape Canaveral, ready for final charging and checkouts before liftoff Feb. 9 to finally begin a more than $1.5 billion science mission first approved by the European Space Agency nearly 20 years ago.
Solar Orbiter launch delayed to Feb. 7
ULA team completes countdown practice run before Solar Orbiter launch
United Launch Alliance teams loaded super-cold liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen into an Atlas 5 rocket Friday at Cape Canaveral during a countdown dress rehearsal for a planned launch next month with the Solar Orbiter mission, a robotic spacecraft to study the origins of the solar wind and image the sun’s poles for the first time.