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LAUNCH OF PARKER SOLAR PROBE, August 12, 2018, Cape Canaveral FL, 3:31 am ET

UPDATE 2, AUGUST 11:  ULA confirms that it will try again on August 12 (tomorrow) at 3:31 am ET.

UPDATE AUGUST 11:  The launch this morning was scrubbed at T-1:55 before a revised launch time of 4:28 am ET (earlier problems had pushed the launch time from the opening of the window at 3:33 am ET).  The problem was a gaseous helium red pressure alarm.  A new launch time of August 12 at 3:31 am ET has been set TENTATIVELY, but is dependent on resolution of the problem.

UPDATE, AUGUST 6:  The opening of the launch window on August 11 has been refined to 3:33 am ET (instead of 3:48 am ET).  NASA TV coverage will begin at 3:00 am ET.   It is a 65-minute launch window.  A post-launch press conference will take place “shortly after the end of launch coverage…”

UPDATE, AUGUST 2:  NASA has extended the launch window by four days, to August 23.  The launch remains scheduled for August 11 at 3:48 am ET, however.

UPDATE, July 25:  The launch date has slipped again.  Now it is scheduled for August 11 at 3:48 am ET because more time is needed for inspection.  Following encapsulation of the spacecraft, a small strip of foam was found inside the fairing.  The launch window is open until August 19.

UPDATE, July 18:  NASA announced the launch date has slipped again, to August 6, because more time was needed to evaluate the configuration of a cable clamp on the payload fairing and to repair a leak in the purge ground support tubing on the 3rd stage rocket motor.  The new launch time was not announced.

UPDATE, June 16:  NASA announced the launch date has slipped to August 4 because more time is needed for software testing of spacecraft systems.  The launch time was not provided.  The launch window is open until August 19.

Original Entry: NASA will launch the Parker Solar Probe on a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket from Cape Canaveral, FL no earlier than (NET) July 31 2018 at 4:15 am ET.   The launch window is open from July 31 to August 19.

The probe will travel closer to the Sun than any other spacecraft, flying directly through its corona.  For that reason, NASA bills the mission as “touching the Sun.”   To get into the proper orbit, the spacecraft will get seven “gravity assists” from Venus over 7 years by flying around that planet and using its gravity to change the spacecraft’s trajectory.   Studying the corona will provide data on the origin and evolution of the solar wind and thereby enable better forecasts of space weather, which can affect life and technology on Earth.

The mission is named about renowned space physicist Gene Parker.



August 12, 2018
3:00 am - 10:00 am