Miami: (HRNW) The US-European Solar Orbiter probe launched Sunday night from Florida on a voyage to deepen our understanding of the Sun and how it shapes the space weather that impacts technology back on Earth.
The mission, a collaboration between ESA (the European Space Agency) and American space agency NASA, successfully blasted off from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral at 11:03pm (0403 GMT Monday) and could last up to nine years or more.
At 12:24am Monday (0524 GMT) the European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany, received a signal from the spacecraft indicating that its solar panels had successfully deployed.
Space Orbiter is expected to provide unprecedented insights into the Sun’s atmosphere, its winds and its magnetic fields, including how it shapes the heliosphere, the vast swath of space that encompasses our system.
By journeying out of the ecliptic plane — the belt of space roughly aligned with the Sun’s equator, through which the planets orbit — it will acquire the first-ever images of our star’s uncharted polar regions.