BFF-01 After technical delay, NASA to try again launching Sun probe

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After technical delay, NASA to try again launching Sun probe

TAMPA, Aug 12, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – After a last-minute technical problem
forced NASA to postpone by 24 hours the launch of its first mission to
explore the Sun, the agency plans to try again Sunday.

The new, 60-minute launch window opens at 3:31 am (0731 GMT) for the Parker
Solar Probe, a $1.5 billion unmanned spacecraft that aims to get closer than
any human-made object in history to the center of our solar system.

The probe is designed to plunge into the Sun’s mysterious atmosphere, known
as the corona, coming within 3.83 million miles (6.16 million kilometers) of
its surface during a seven-year mission.

It is protected by an ultra-powerful heat shield that can endure
unprecedented levels of heat, and radiation 500 times that experienced on
Earth.

The car-sized probe is designed to give scientists a better understanding
of solar wind and geomagnetic storms that risk wreaking chaos on Earth by
knocking out the power grid.

Saturday’s scrub was caused by a helium gas sensor that surpassed a launch
limit on the Delta IV-Heavy rocket, United Launch Alliance said.

The weather forecast was expected to be about 60 percent favorable for
launch, according to ULA.

BSS/AFP/MSY/0819 hrs