Stateside's conversation with Justin Kasper, a principal investigator for the Parker Solar Probe.
"The team - which is monitoring the spacecraft 24 hours a day, seven days a week - is observing nominal data from the systems as we bring them online and prepare Parker Solar Probe for its upcoming initial Venus gravity assist", he added.
By 5:33 a.m., the mission's operations manager reported that the spacecraft successfully separated and the probe was launched into space. All instruments aboard the spacecraft will be tested early in September.
"If we want to develop space exploration programmes, we have to take sun into account as a major element for every mission and activity", he said.
That Venus flyby will occur on October 3, paving the way for the Parker Solar Probe's first close encounter with the sun on November 5. He was the physicist who first concluded in 1958 that solar wind existed. Official science operations will subsequently begin.
So how close is Parker actually going to get to the Sun? By this time, it should already be within the corona. The spacecraft will get within 3.83 million miles (6.16 million kilometers) of the solar surface, zooming through space at up to 430,000 mph (690,000 km/h) during these close flybys. The probe will allow this by flying through the Sun's atmosphere, at a proximity never achieved before by any other man-made spacecraft, 3.8 million miles away from the sun's surface.
"This mission truly marks humanity's first visit to a star that will have implications not just here on Earth, but how we better understand our universe". The Living with a Star program is managed by the agency´s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, for NASA´s Science Mission Directorate in Washington.
For more than 60 years, experts failed to answer questions like how did corona became 300 times hotter than the sun, what triggers the supersonic solar wind, and what constitute solar energy that can travel more than half the speed of light.
Since 2013, Engility has provided software assurance services to NASA for the Parker Solar Probe mission at the agency's IV and V facility in Fairmont, West Virginia. It measures 8 feet in diameter and 4.5 inches thick.
The spacecraft will travel through material with temperatures greater than several million degrees Celsius while being bombarded with intense sunlight.
NASA and its partners have developed a carbon composite shield that can withstand those 2,500 degrees on one side while instruments operate in 85 degrees on the other.