NASA’S Parker Solar Probe finally lifts off in mission to “touch the sun” – captured in breathtaking imagery.
After yesterday’s launch was postponed moments before lift-off when an alarm was heard, NASA saw its Parker Solar Probe finally in action.
The historic mission was cancelled on Saturday due to a helium pressure alarm going off.
Mic Woltman from the Nasa launch services explained: “As we picked up the count and got into t-minus 4 minutes, the team received a gaseous helium red pressure alarm.
“That kicked (the team) out and now the team is looking and evaluating that but unfortunately there wasn’t enough time this evening to troubleshoot that for a launch.”
NASA tweeted today: “#SunDay is a good day for a launch to the sun!
“We have favourable weather for today’s 3.31am ET lift-off of our Parker #SolarProbe spacecraft that is headed to the sun.”
Today at Cape Canaveral, Florida spectators watched as the £1.17bn probe disappeared into space in a dramatic display.
The engineering masterpiece is the first rocket to be named after a living person, Eugene Parker, 91, an astrophysicist who first described the solar wind as far back as 1958.
It will take seven years and use 55 times more energy than any probe traveling to Mars.
The objective of the space project is to collect important information about solar wind and help scientists predict changes in the Earth space environment.
It is important as solar weather can affect what is happening on our planet, including systems such as power grids.
Mission project scene test aid Nichola Fox said: “We can still see the impact of space weather here on earth because the solar wind is continually buffeting our planet.”
Eugene excitedly watched the Space Probe begin it’s journey: “Wow, here we go. We’re in for some learning over the next several years.”
The ship can travel so fast in just one second it could reach as far as Washington DC from Philadelphia and is expected to reach it’s destination in November 2018.
Reaching closer to the sun than ever before, it will orbit around the sun 25 times collecting all the data it needs.
As exciting as the first moon landing, the closest we have ever been to the sun was back in 1976, so it will be great to see what NASA’s new modern technology can achieve.