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NASA’s Parker Solar Probe Completes 16th Sun Orbit

NASA's Parker Solar Probe completed its 16th orbit around the Sun on June 27, 2023.

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Zac Aubert

Zac Aubert

Mon Jul 03 2023Written by Zac Aubert

NASA's Parker Solar Probe completed its 16th orbit around the Sun on June 27, 2023.

This momentous occasion included a close approach to the Sun, known as perihelion, on June 22, 2023. During its approach, the spacecraft came within a mere 5.3 million miles of the solar surface while hurtling through space at an incredible speed of 364,610 miles per hour. Following the perihelion, the Parker Solar Probe emerged unscathed and in excellent operational condition.

Up Next:

The Parker Solar Probe is scheduled for its sixth flyby of Venus on August 21, 2023. To ensure a smooth trajectory, the dedicated mission team at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) executed a small course correction maneuver on June 7, 2023. This maneuver marked the first adjustment since March 2022 and was essential in preparing the spacecraft for the upcoming flyby.

During the flyby, which will be the sixth out of seven planned encounters with Venus, the Parker Solar Probe will leverage the planet's gravitational force to tighten its orbit around the Sun.

The ultimate goal is to position the spacecraft for a future perihelion at an astonishingly close distance of just 4.5 million miles from the Sun's surface. This upcoming perihelion is of particular significance as it will provide invaluable insights into the field of heliophysics, especially as the Sun grows increasingly active.

About Parker Solar Probe

The Parker Solar Probe project was developed as part of NASA's Living With a Star program, which aims to explore various aspects of the Sun-Earth system that directly impact life and society.

The Living With a Star program is overseen by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, located in Greenbelt, Maryland, and falls under the purview of the agency's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The spacecraft itself was designed, constructed, and continues to be operated by the Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) at Johns Hopkins University. APL is also responsible for managing the entire mission on behalf of NASA.

The Parker Solar Probe has been an exceptional example of human ingenuity and technological achievement, venturing closer to the Sun than any previous spacecraft. With each orbit and flyby, it continues to unravel the mysteries of Earth's star, providing a deeper understanding of the Sun and its effects on our planet.

The groundbreaking mission of the Parker Solar Probe not only pushes the boundaries of scientific exploration but also promises to revolutionize our knowledge of the Sun-Earth system and its impact on our everyday lives.