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Solar Orbiter: Spacecraft to leave UK bound for the Sun

Solar Orbiter: Spacecraft to leave UK bound for the Sun

Science
It's taken a little longer than expected but the Solar Orbiter probe is built and ready to begin testing. UK engineers are putting the finishing touches to the satellite this week before sending it to Germany to begin a year-long test campaign. Such attention to detail is necessary because of the punishing conditions the spacecraft will experience when studying our star's inner workings. SolO is going to fly to within 43 million km of the solar surface. In doing so, the heatshield on the front of the European Space Agency (Esa) satellite will have to cope with temperatures of up to 600C. If you're thinking, "but I thought we just launched a probe to study the Sun" - you'd be right. That was the US space agency's (Nasa) Parker sat...