Parker Solar Probe gets its revolutionary heat shield

September 27, 2017, NASA
On Sept. 21, 2017, engineers at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, lowered the thermal protection system – the heat shield – onto the spacecraft for a test of alignment as part of integration and testing. Credit: NASA/JHUAPL

On Sept. 25, 2017, media were invited to see NASA's Parker Solar Probe in its flight configuration at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, where it is being built. The revolutionary heat shield that will protect the first spacecraft to fly directly into the Sun's atmosphere was installed for the first time on Sept. 21. This is the only time the spacecraft will have its thermal protection system—which will reach temperatures of 2,500 degrees F while at the Sun—attached until just before launch.

Parker Solar Probe is scheduled for launch on July 31, 2018, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. The spacecraft will explore the Sun's and make critical observations that will answer decades-old questions about the physics of how stars work. The resulting data will improve forecasts of major space weather events that impact life on Earth, as well as satellites and astronauts in space.

In this time-lapse video taken on Sept. 21, 2017, the thermal protection system – the heat shield -- for NASA’s Parker Solar Probe spacecraft is shown during installation at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland. This 4.5-inch thick, eight-foot diameter shield protects the spacecraft and its instruments against the intense heat and energy of the Sun’s outer atmosphere, the corona, through which the spacecraft will fly on a mission of extreme exploration. Credit: NASA

Parker Solar Probe gets its revolutionary heat shield
Nicola Fox, the project scientist for NASA’s Parker Solar Probe, at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, answers media questions on Sept. 25, 2017, in the clean room at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, with the spacecraft in the background. Credit: NASA
NASA’s Parker Solar in the clean room at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, on Sept. 25, 2017. It is shown with the thermal protection system – the heat shield – on top, which is one of the few times it is integrated with the space craft before it launches. Credit: NASA

Explore further: A real scorcher: NASA probe to fly into sun's atmosphere (Update)

Related Stories

Building to begin on Solar Probe Plus spacecraft

April 9, 2015

NASA's Solar Probe Plus mission—which will fly closer to the sun than any spacecraft has before—reached a major milestone last month when it successfully completed its Critical Design Review, or CDR.

Image: Atlas V lifts-off with TDRS-M

August 21, 2017

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket lifts off from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, with NASA's Tracking and Data Relay Satellite, TDRS-M. TDRS-M. Liftoff was at 8:29 a.m. EDT.

GOES-S and GOES-T satellites coming together

August 3, 2017

Progress continues on the development of NOAA's GOES-S and GOES-T spacecraft that will follow the successful launch of the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite or GOES-R, renamed GOES-16 upon reaching geostationary ...

Recommended for you

HESS J1943+213 is an extreme blazar, study finds

June 21, 2018

An international group of astronomers have carried out multi-wavelength observations of HESS J1943+213 and found evidence supporting the hypothesis that this gamma-ray source is an extreme blazar. The finding is reported ...

The Rosetta stone of active galactic nuclei deciphered

June 21, 2018

A galaxy with at least one active supermassive black hole – named OJ 287 – has caused many irritations and questions in the past. The emitted radiation of this object spans a wide range – from the radio up to the highest ...

'Red nuggets' are galactic gold for astronomers

June 21, 2018

About a decade ago, astronomers discovered a population of small, but massive galaxies called "red nuggets." A new study using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory indicates that black holes have squelched star formation in these ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.