A timelapse video showing the solar array deployment test, encapsulation into the rocket fairing, roll-out and launch of the Solar Orbiter spacecraft.
Solar Orbiter, ESA’s Sun-exploring mission designed to capture images of the Sun’s surface from the closest distance ever, underwent a series of tests at the IABG facilities in Ottobrunn, Germany, in 2019 ahead of its shipment to Florida.
The 1800kg spacecraft was prepared for launch at the Astrotech Titusville facilities near the Kennedy Space Centre in late January and successfully launched atop NASA's Atlas 5 rocket in late on 10 February 2020.
An ESA-led mission with strong NASA participation, Solar Orbiter will look at some of the never-before-seen regions of the Sun, such as the poles, and attempt to shed more light on the origins of solar wind, which can knock out power grids on the ground and disrupt operations of satellites orbiting the Earth. The spacecraft will take advantage of the gravitational pull of Venus to adjust its orbit to obtain unprecedented views of the solar surface.
Directed by Stéphane Corvaja/ESA
Edited by Manuel Pédoussaut/Zetapress