NASA Parker Solar Probe launch LIVE: Countdown restarts as sun blast scrubbed last minute | Science | News

This morning’s launch time for the car-sized object is 8:31 BST (3:31 EDT). 

It will be a historic launch as it will be the first mission to “touch the sun” and it expected to provide vital information about our solar system and beyond.

NASA shared on their live blog on Saturday morning: “The launch of a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket carrying the Parker Solar Probe spacecraft was scrubbed today due to a violation of a launch limit, resulting in a hold. 

“There was not enough time remaining in the window to recycle.

“The launch is planned for Sunday, Aug. 12 from Space Launch Complex-37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The forecast shows a 60 percent chance of favorable weather conditions for launch. The launch time is 3:31 a.m. EDT.”

Yesterday the launch was scheduled for lift-off at 8:53am (3:53am EDT) from Cape Canaveral on the Florida coast before being delayed several times. 

It was scrubbed in the end because of a red flag alarm that was raised with just minutes to go.

A gaseous helium pressure alarm was raised on the spacecraft causing this morning’s launched to be cancelled and the teams launch window for Saturday was already close to expiring and there was not enough time to evaluate the problem.

Mic Woltman from the NASA Launch Services Program said: “Teams worked very hard this evening, diligently getting through the launch process and looking at everything they had to in order to get into the terminal count.

“As we picked up the count and got into t-minus 4 minutes, the team received a gaseous helium red pressure alarm.

“That kicked them [the team] out and now the team is looking and evaluating that but unfortunately there wasn’t enough time this evening to troubleshoot that for a launch.”

The mission, once it launches, will take seven years and it will take 55 times more energy to go the Sun than to Mars.

The probe s designed to give scientists a better understanding of solar wind and geomagnetic storms that risk knocking out power grids on Earth. 

The £1.17billion ($1.5billion) mission will study the sun’s incredibly hot outer atmosphere, called the corona, as well as the charged particles that flow off the star and into the solar system.

It will utilise Venus to try and achieve an orbit around the sun by helping to slow it down. It will take six weeks for the object to get to Venus.

The mission is expected to provide unprecedented information about solar wind and fundamental research about the Sun.

Nicola Fox, the mission project scientist, said on the morning of the scheduled launched: “We can still see the impact of space weather here on Earth because the solar wind is continually buffeting our planet.”

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