Their mighty Atlas V rocket will soar into the Floridian skies propelling Solar Orbiter to on its 3.5 year journey to the Sun. For more detailed information, please see the Solar Orbiter pages on the ESA website. Solar Orbiter is on a unique trajectory that will allow its suite of instruments to capture the first images of the sun's poles. Solar Orbiter will use its suite of powerful sensors and onboard computing in an attempt to answer questions about the Sun’s magnetic field and coronal mass ejections. Solar Orbiter factsheet. The Solar Orbiter (SolO) is a planned Sun-observing satellite, developed by the European Space Agency (ESA). The orbiter, which is currently being designed and built by Airbus Defence and Space-led team, will scrutinise the Sun in unprecedented detail. Solar Orbiter Orbit: Solar Orbiter will be placed into an elliptical orbit around the sun coming as close to 26 million miles away from the star every five months -- even closer than Mercury. SolO is intended to perform detailed measurements of the inner heliosphere and nascent solar wind, and perform close observations of the polar regions of the Sun, which is difficult to do from Earth, both serving to answer the question "How does the Sun create and control the heliosphere?" Solar Orbiter is a spacecraft build by the European Space Agency to study the inner heliosphere and its overall effects on solar radiation. The Solar Orbiter spacecraft is heading toward the Sun after a late-night launch from Florida’s Space Coast aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket. The Solar Orbiter (SolO) is a Sun-observing satellite, developed by the European Space Agency (ESA). At the same time, Solar Orbiter will acquire in situ data and characterise and calibrate its remote-sensing instruments. One spacecraft — NASA's Juno orbiter — is currently exploring this giant world. Its mission is to explore how the Sun creates the heliosphere, the bubble-like region of space dominated by the solar wind. Get the latest updates on NASA missions, watch NASA TV live, and learn about our quest to reveal the unknown and benefit all humankind. Go farther. The mission is a cooperative mission between NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) which will help researchers to know how the star's energy affects Earth and humans in space. The Sun contains 99.9 percent of all matter in our Solar System. 2 months ago. The orbiter, which is currently being designed and built by Airbus Defence and Space-led team, will scrutinise the Sun in unprecedented detail. We live in the extended atmosphere of the Sun, a region of space known as the heliosphere. Moreover, it will attempt to decode the Sun’s 11-year cycle, something that has long stumped scientists in the field. NASA.gov brings you the latest images, videos and news from America's space agency. Sun facts. The orbiter was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) Space Launch Complex 17 (SLC-17) on December 11, 1998.