“Solar Orbiter” returns to earth one more time – Vorarlberger Nachrichten

Graz, Darmstadt The space probe “Solar Orbiter” will return to earth one last time before its planned journey to the center of our solar system. On Saturday at 5.30 a.m. (CET), the spaceship will rush past its home planet at an altitude of 460 kilometers over North Africa and the Canary Islands. A maneuver that, according to the European Space Agency, carries a small risk. The probe must fly through two orbits in which space debris could become a hazard.

The reason for the probe’s first and last approaches to earth is to slow down the orbiter on the way to its solar mission. It comes in at almost 29 kilometers per second and slows down by 7.2 kilometers per second, said the head of ESA mission operations in the control center in Darmstadt, Simon Plum.

In March, the “Solar Orbiter” will then fly up to 50 million kilometers to the center of the solar system. “He’s never been this close,” said Plum.

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Solar Orbiter returns earth time Vorarlberger Nachrichten

 
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