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ULA rocket set to launch Solar Orbiter as NASA, ESA near golden era of sun science

February 09, 2020 / Jamie Groh

Just a year and a half after sending NASA’s Parker Solar Probe to study the Sun, United Launch Alliance (ULA) is ready to once again support a science mission on its way to the center of our solar system. The Solar Orbiter, a unique spacecraft jointly developed by NASA and the European Space Agency, will launch aboard a ULA Atlas V 411 booster, propelling it to the Sun to snap the first photos of its north and south poles. The Solar Orbiter will work in conjunction with NASA’s Parker Solar Probe in unlocking the mysteries of our closest star. Parker Solar Probe occasionally dips into the Sun’s atmosphere – referred to as the corona – learning about the environment and the solar wind that propels energy and radiation into our solar system.