NASA's probe will pass by Venus a total of seven times (starting in early October) as it uses the planet's gravity to whip itself ever closer to the star. The Parker Solar Probe is now racing through space on a path that will eventually bring it within 4 million miles of the sun's surface. "I was speechless and I'm not normally speechless".
Delta IV Heavy rocket carrying NASA's Parker Solar Probe mission to the sun lifts off from Space Launch Complex-37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, on August 12, 2018. And the photos from the nighttime launch are spectacular.
No human-made vehicle has ever come so close - leading the American space agency to claim the probe will "touch" the sun. NASA needed the mighty 23-story rocket, plus a third stage, to get the diminutive Parker probe - the size of a small auto and well under a ton - racing toward the sun. "Whenever you're there, you take a breather and then you start working".
The launch was called off at the last minute on Saturday after a gaseous helium pressure red alarm emerged that the scientists did not have enough time to troubleshoot.
According to CNET, the probe is expected to reach the sun in November.
"There was no emotional roller coaster like there was yesterday", Fox said after the launch.
See, it doesn't have to be just the plot device of Airplane 2.
The Delta 4 Heavy did not disappoint.
The Parker probe, which cost a whopping $1.5bn (£1.17bn) left Cape Canaveral last night atop a big rocket, bound for the centre of our galaxy. After all, the spacecraft is named in his honor.
Thousands of spectators jammed the launch site, including 91-year-old astrophysicist Eugene Parker after whom the spacecraft is named.
"We've accomplished something that decades ago, lived exclusively in the realm of science fiction", he added, describing the probe as one of NASA's "strategically important" missions.
Check out Dr. Eugene N. Parker watching the rocket set of on its journey to space.
At about 3:30am ET on Sunday morning, the spacecraft that's headed directly for the sun launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
The craft will endure extreme heat while zooming through the solar corona to study the Sun's outer atmosphere that gives rise to the solar winds. "We are in for some learning over the next several years", Parker told NASA television.
Following the launch, Zurbuchen explained how incredible it was to be able to watch the launch with Parker.
But Sunday's bid "went off like clockwork", said NASA launch manager Omar Baez.
The probe will constantly be sending back data on solar winds and energy particles.
It is travelling on board the Delta-IV Heavy rocket, which will hurl the probe into the inner Solar System.
Parker, the probe, will start shattering records this fall.
Over the next few weeks, Parker Solar Probe will run through a series of tests to ensure that its four instrument suites are working properly. Seven Venus flybys are planned over the seven-year mission to fine-tune the trajectory, setting up the close-in aim points.