Parker Solar Probe on Track for Venus Flyby #SpaceSaturday
On its journey to the sun, the Parker Solar Probe has a planned flyby of Venus. But to do so, a brief, unplanned maneuver was required. Here’s more from NASA:
Operating on preprogrammed commands from mission control at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, Parker fired its small thrusters for 4.5 seconds, enough to adjust its trajectory by 77 miles and speed up – by 1.4 seconds – its closest approach to Venus. The precise timing and position are critical to that flyby, the sixth of seven approaches in which Parker uses the planet’s gravity to tighten its orbit around the Sun.
“Parker’s velocity is about 8.7 miles per second, so in terms of changing the spacecraft’s speed and direction, this trajectory correction maneuver may seem insignificant,” said Yanping Guo, mission design and navigation manager at APL. “However, the maneuver is critical to get us the desired gravity assist at Venus, which will significantly change Parker’s speed and distance to the Sun”.
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