Last-minute technical problem delays NASA's flight to sun

NASA set to launch 'touch the Sun' spacecraft

NASA stated: "Parker Solar Probe will provide unprecedented information about our sun, where changing conditions can spread out into the solar system to affect Earth and other worlds".

The launch was pushed back because a technical glitch on the rocket carrying the probe, United Launch Alliance's Delta IV Heavy rocket, caused NASA to run out the clock on its 65-minute launch window Saturday.

The Parker Solar Probe, named after American solar astrophysicist Eugene Parker, will, as the United States space agency describes it, "touch the sun" as it flies within 3.9 million miles of the star's surface.

The probe is named after Gene Parker, who in 1958 wrote a paper theorizing the expansion of the solar atmosphere and solar wind.

The probe's main goal is to unveil the secrets of the corona, the unusual atmosphere around Sun.

Sending a spacecraft closer to the sun than ever before, it will embark on a almost seven-year venture, becoming the first spacecraft to have a direct encounter with a star.

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"The Parker Solar Probe will help us do a much better job of predicting when a disturbance in the solar wind could hit Earth", said Justin Kasper, a project scientist and professor at the University of MI. The $1.5 billion mission is already a week late because of rocket issues.

The probe will be controlled from the Mission Operations Centre based at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU APL), which is where NASA handles its unmanned missions. He's now 91 and eager to see the solar probe soar.

"With each orbit, we'll be seeing new regions of the Sun's atmosphere and learning things about stellar mechanics that we've wanted to explore for decades", Fox added.

The Parker Solar Probe was to touch our hot star with its lift off scheduled for August 11 from Nasa's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

After it launches, the probe will travel at 430,000mph, the fastest speed ever achieved by a spacecraft. When it nears the Sun, the probe will travel rapidly enough to go from NY to Tokyo in one minute - some 688,000kmh - making it the fastest human-made object.

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