WATCH: ULA launches Solar Orbiter to capture historic images of sun

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The Solar Orbiter launched Sunday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 11:03 p.m. for a joint mission between the European Space Agency and NASA.

The mission aims to capture the first images of the sun’s north and south poles.

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The Solar Orbiter is equipped with 10 state-of-the-art instruments from NASA and the European Space Agency, which will provide scientists with data. The spacecraft will complement the work already being done by the Parker Solar Probe, which was launched by NASA in 2018.

In addition to capturing the images of the sun’s poles, the joint mission will also study the sun’s outer atmosphere and solar wind, helping scientists better forecast space weather events.

Watch the launch below:

“As we move out into space, as we start doing businesses out in space, NASA and the commercial communities will all be working together, and the data from missions like this creates predictive model(s) so we’ll be able to protect our astronauts, protect our assets,” said Alan Zide, Solar Orbiter program executive.

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The Solar Orbiter’s mission is expected to last about a decade.

Ahead of the Solar Orbiter launch, NASA and Boeing officials on Friday afternoon acknowledged an issue with a mission-elapsed timer during the Starliner’s orbital flight test. Click here or watch the video below:

Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.