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European Space Agency’s Solar Orbiter launch delayed to February 7

The Solar Orbiter mission, led by the ESA, will join NASA’s Parker Solar Probe in studying the Sun at proximity.

The European Space Agency (ESA), along with NASA and United Launch Alliance (ULA) has confirmed a two-day delay for the Solar Orbiter spacecraft and will now be launched on February 7.

The delay was attributed to minor issues that had to be addressed during a recent launch vehicle countdown dress rehearsal.

The ULA team discovered that an air conditioning duct leading to the Atlas 5’s Centaur upper stage had been disconnected before a scheduled dress rehearsal at Cape Canaveral.

The Solar Orbiter mission aims to provide the first high-resolution views of the Sun’s polar regions from high latitudes. It also aims to investigate the connection between the Earth and the Sun in hopes of helping scientists better understand and predict space weather.

However, the Solar Orbiter is different than NASA’s Parker Solar Probe as the latter can go closer to the Sun and carries a smaller payload.