Published: Sun, August 12, 2018
Sci-tech | By Carrie Guzman

NASA postpones launch of first solar probe until Sunday

NASA postpones launch of first solar probe until Sunday

The car-sized probe is created to give scientists a better understanding of solar wind and geomagnetic storms that risk wreaking chaos on Earth by knocking out the power grid.

The launch has now been postponed by a day.

NASA called off the launch of its ambitious Parker Solar Probe mission to the sun just minutes before an early-morning liftoff Saturday (Aug. 11) due to a glitch with the spacecraft's giant Delta IV Heavy rocket.

"Recent advances in materials science gave us the material to fashion a heat shield in front of the spacecraft not only to withstand the extreme heat of the Sun, but to remain cool on the backside", said Szabo. But when NASA launched its Mariner 2 spacecraft bound for Venus in 1962, it became the first robotic probe to make a successful planetary encounter, and it verified Parker's theory. Forecasters are predicting a 60 percent chance of acceptable weather.

The launch of NASA's $1.5 billion Parker Solar Probe atop a heavy-lift Delta 4 Heavy rocket was scrubbed at the last minute early Saturday because of a technical glitch that could not be resolved before the launch window closed. The next launch window opens at 3:31 (9.31am in SA) on Sunday.

The probe will be 3.9 million miles from the sun's surface, making it the closest spacecraft to the sun's surface in history.

Eight long years of hard work by countless engineers and scientists is finally paying off.

Parker Solar Probe launch delayed until Sunday
NASA delays launch of first ever solar probe | TheHill

The probe will fly into a region where temperatures exceed a million degrees Fahrenheit (555,000 degrees Celsius) but the sun is expected to heat the shield to a relatively modest 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit (1,370 degrees Celsius).

The coolest, hottest mission, baby, that's what it is.

Unfortunately, we didn't have enough time this evening to go troubleshoot that and try again for a launch.

The Parker probe's final three orbits - in 2024 and 2025 - will be the closest.

"And it needs to be, because it takes an vast amount of energy to get to our final orbit around the Sun", Driesman added.

The probe is about the size of a small auto and weighs a mere 635 kg.

It is created to withstand heat of up to 1,000 degrees Celsius, speeds of 700,000 kilometres per hour and a journey that will last seven years.

Samsung's new phone shows how hardware innovation has slowed
These include an adaptive fast charger, eartips for the earphones, two USB-C adapters, a USB cable and AKG branded earphones. The 128GB model of the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 will be available in South Africa from 24 August 2018 for R18,999.

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