Early in the morning on Sunday, at 3:31am EDT, United Launch Alliance’s Delta IV Heavy rocket lifted off from SLC-37 for the first time in over a year.
It was delayed from its first attempt on Saturday due to an alarm caused by a helium gas regulator issue, aborting the launch for the day.
On top of the Delta IV Heavy is the Parker Solar Probe. Named after Eugene Parker, this probe will dive deeper into the sun than any other spacecraft ever has before and will become the fastest human-made object ever launched on its closest approach with our star. This mission is set to find out more about the charged particles (solar wind) that our Sun gives of and shoots into space. It will also bring a better understanding of how our star works and in return, tell us more about other stars in our universe! To align into its proper orbit, it needs some help from Venus 7 times to help reduce velocity and bring the orbit down closer to the sun.
The spacecraft gets the name ‘Parker Solar Probe’ from Eugene Parker, who made the discovery of the Solar Wind. Parker is also the only living person to have a NASA mission named after him and have watched it launch.