With less than

Orlando Sentinel - - FRONT PAGE - By Marco San­tana Staff Writer Got a news tip? msan­tana@or­lan­dosen­tinel.com or 407-420-5256; Twit­ter, @mar­cosan­tana

2 min­utes to go in the launch count­down early Sat­ur­day, of­fi­cials shut down the Parker Space Probe, forc­ing NASA to try again for 3:31 a.m. this morn­ing.

CAPE CANAVERAL — With 1 minute, 55 sec­onds to go in the launch count­down early Sat­ur­day, launch of­fi­cials shut down the Parker Space Probe and an­nounced a scrub, forc­ing the launch to tar­get its backup time of 3:31 a.m. this morn­ing.

It gave a sec­ond chance for night owls and very early ris­ers to watch an his­toric launch, as United Launch Al­liance was set to send the Parker Space Probe mis­sion into space from the coast on the largest rocket send­ing pay­loads to­day.

It would be just the 10th launch of the Delta IV Heavy, which will pro­vide 2.1 mil­lion pounds of thrust dur­ing launch. The craft's first launch took place in 2004.

NASA's Parker So­lar Probe is sched­uled to em­bark on a path that will even­tu­ally take it closer to the sun than any other man-made ob­ject has ever gone.

The trip has a high level of risk be­cause, once the space­craft is on its way, it will be mostly au­ton­o­mous, said Scott Messer, a pro­gram man­ager at United Launch Al­liance.

“Ev­ery­thing has to work the first time,” he said.

If it does, the probe will come within 3.8 mil­lion miles of the sun by De­cem­ber 2024. The clos­est any other space­craft has come was the He­lios B probe, which came within 27 mil­lion miles on April 17, 1976.

The launch comes just shy of the one-year an­niver­sary of a so­lar eclipse that cut across the U.S. in Au­gust of 2017.

That event helped spark more in­ter­est in the sun, said Nicky Fox, the Parker So­lar Probe's project sci­en­tist.

“It made ev­ery­body look to the skies and re­al­ize the sun is not just a sin­gle point of light,” said Fox, who is based at Johns Hop­kins Univer­sity's Ap­plied Physics Lab­o­ra­tory. “It re­ally did bring up an aware­ness.”

RED HUBER/STAFF PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

NASA’s Parker So­lar Probe is sched­uled to em­bark on a path that will take it closer to the sun than any other man-made ob­ject has ever gone.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.