The Parker Solar Probe, NASA’s spacecraft that is planned to approach the “surface” of the Sun for the first time in humanity, is programmed to launch on 4th of August, and it’s now in the final stage of processing. The space vehicle will be sent into orbit with the help of a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket.
The final phase of the craft’s processing activities began on 3rd of April, in Titusville, Florida. When it comes to the Delta IV rocket, compared to others that are available in the US fleet, this one is the first to spend so much time on the launch pad going through final preparations. The prolonged pad flows for this rocket provided by the United Launch Alliance (ULA) are making sure that the rocket will be prepared for future important missions, like the Parker Solar Probe.
Making sure that everything is functioning before the launch
The ULA team has been engaged in ample testing in order to make sure that all systems of the Delta IV Heavy rocket are operating without any problems. The engineers want to be completely assured that nothing will go wrong on the launch day. However, no matter how much testing is undertaken by ULA, there are still certain factors that can influence the functioning of the rocket and this cannot be changed. What this means is that, regardless of how much some elements of the rocket are being tested, they can still malfunction in the unfortunate situation of something going wrong.
In spite of all of this, a thorough testing is necessary for the weeks before the launch, as new potential problems can rise to the surface, allowing the scientists to fix them at the right time. This is to assure that the mission will not be delayed and things will go as planned.
Brad is a former Senior Fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, is an award-winning travel, culture, and parenting writer. His writing has appeared in many of the Canada’s most respected and credible publications, including the Toronto Star, CBC News and on the cover of Smithsonian Magazine. A meticulous researcher who’s not afraid to be controversial, he is nationally known as a journalist who opens people’s eyes to the realities behind accepted practices in the care of children. Brad is a contributing journalist to Advocator.ca