Article image NASA spacecraft breaks record for coming closest to Sun

Космічні машини міряються рекордами апарат NASA як ніколи близько підлетів до Сонця

NASA Parker Solar Probe spacecraft sets new record with Sun approach

The spaceship is "expected to break the record for fastest spacecraft traveling relative to the Sun on October 29 at about 10:54 pm EDT (Tuesday 0254 GMT)", NASA said.

NASA's Parker Solar Probe has clinched the record for closest approach to the Sun by a man-made object, the space agency confirmed Monday.

This handout photo released by NASA shows the United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket with the Parker Solar Probe onboard shortly after the Mobile Service Tower was rolled back on August 10, 2018.

Like the Parker Solar Probe, Helios 2 was a probe sent into solar (heliocentric) orbit to study the processes on the Sun.

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That record was likewise set by the Helios 2 back in 1976, and it now stands at 153,454MPH.

These records will fall again and again over the course of the Parker Solar Probe's $1.5 billion mission, which began August 12 with a liftoff from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Parker will be the first spacecraft to fly through the Sun's corona, the outermost part of the star's atmosphere.

Parker will make 24 close approaches to the sun over the next seven years, ultimately coming within just six million kilometres.

The spacecraft sports a special carbon-composite shield to protect itself and its instruments from intense heat and radiation during its close flybys.

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The first of these two dozen close encounters is just around the corner: It officially begins Wednesday (Oct. 31), with perihelion (closest solar approach) coming on the night of November 5. On its closest approach in 2024, the probe will be traveling at approximately 430,000 miles per hour, setting a new speed record for a manmade object.

"It's a proud moment for the team, though we remain focussed on our first solar encounter".

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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