Jessica Marshall is the Principal Spacecraft Systems Engineer on the Solar Orbiter team at Airbus and described how the Solar Orbiter was built. This probe will travel inside the orbit of Mercury and give us our best view to date of the heliosphere, the giant bubble of space around the Sun where the solar wind dominates. Astrophysics, engineering, robust cutting-edge technology were covered in the talk.
Studying the Sun from a unique distance, Solar Orbiter’s mission is to explore how the Sun creates the heliosphere – the bubble-like region of space dominated by the solar wind. Designed and built by an Airbus Defence and Space-led team, the spacecraft will scrutinise the Sun in unprecedented detail. It will make comprehensive measurements of the nascent solar wind while travelling closer to this star than the planet Mercury.
Launched in February 2020, Solar Orbiter is a mission of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).