Solar Orbiter is ESA's M1 mission, scheduled for launch in 2020. It will approach 0.28 u.a. of the sun (closer than Mercury), and includes a payload of instruments dedicated to both remote observation of the solar surface and analysis of solar wind particles and waves. It is a joint/complementary part of the Solar Probe mission. Its particular orbit (approach/remoteness of the sun) poses major thermal challenges. In addition, it is expected to have no radio links for dozens of days (the probe will pass behind the sun). Operating autonomy is another difficulty of this mission.
Objective : Study of solar activity, with the specific aspect of the "connection": how can we link the structures seen on the solar surface, often of magnetic origin, and their dynamics to local changes in the properties of the solar wind. Also concerns the fields of space weather. Issues of crown heating, particle acceleration, shock propagation and CME.
Research Group : PEPS
- Scientific Responsible : Ph. Louarn
- Technical Manager : A. Fedorov
Technical involvement :
IRAP is Co-PI of the SWA (Solar Wind Analyser) consortium led by C. Owen (Mullard Space Science Laboratory, UK). We are responsible for the design/construction of the PAS instrument (the instrument that detects the main component of the solar wind) and part of the HIS instrument (an instrument under NASA's control).
Objectives and Planning :
The launch is now scheduled for early 2020. The instruments are delivered in June 2017. The operations will take place from 2020 to 2030 (about ten years).
Further Resources :
- ESA Web Portal : http://sci.esa.int/solar-orbiter/
- CNES dedicated Webpage : http://smsc.cnes.fr/SOLO/Fr/
- Press Releases :
- April 1, 2019 : Good vibes for Solar Orbiter
- June 9, 2017 : Livraison de l’instrument français PAS pour la mission Solar Orbiter
- Press Review : http://www.irap.omp.eu/grand-public/dossiers/presse-solar