Title and Abstract

Title:  Solar Orbiter: A Joint ESA/NASA Mission to Investigate the Heliosphere.

Abstract:  Solar Orbiter is a space mission of international collaboration between ESA (European Space Agency) and NASA, is the latest mission to study the Sun.  The mission will address a central question of heliophysics: How does the sun create and control the giant bubble of magnetic fields around it, the heliosphere? Solar Orbiter combines remote sensing and in-situ measurements of the Sun, the solar wind plasma, fields, waves, and energetic particles from new vantage points – both close to the Sun and at high latitude -- to observe solar processes that are still relatively pristine and have not had their properties modified by subsequent transport and propagation processes. Solar Orbiter will reach unprecedent milestones in our field. The inclined orbit will allow Solar Orbiter to better image the regions around the sun’s poles than ever before.

Solar Orbiter was launched on February 9th 2020 from Cape Canaveral, FL onboard of an Atlas V 411 rocket. The mission is currently transitioning from the commissioning activities to cruise phase. Starting on June, Solar Orbiter will be placed into an elliptical orbit around the sun coming as close to 26 million miles away from the star every five months -- even closer than Mercury. It will take several months the start the nominal mission phase (September 2021) with the insertion into the close-perihelion orbits in late November 2021.