A solar probe Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory designed and built for NASA has arrived at Lockheed Martin‘s Astrotech Space Operations facility in Florida to begin pre-launch tests and preparations.
APL said Thursday the Parker Solar Probe is scheduled to lift off July 31 at the Kennedy Space Center to study the sun’s outer atmosphere over a seven-year mission.
The spacecraft, named for astrophysicist Eugene Parker, will work to provide data for researchers to forecast major eruptions on the sun as well as space weather events that may affect ground-based technology, satellites or astronauts in space.
Parker Solar Probe will undergo comprehensive tests, final assembly and mating to a Delta IV Heavy rocket’s third stage at the Astrotech facility.
The launch preparation phase will also involve the installation of a thermal protection system designed to protect the spacecraft from the extremely hot temperature in the sun’s corona.