ESA/NASA Mission Solar Orbiter (SolO) preparing for launch

Feb 08, 2020

Solar Orbiter is currently being prepared for launch from Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral at Plattform 41.


Fig. 1: Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex [@ExploreSpaceKSC on Twitter]

Detailled informationen about Solar Orbiter (SolO) and four of it's detector systems, which had been researched and developed in Kiel can be found here:  Forschung Solar Orbiter Mission as well as on our group homepage: AG Wimmer-Schweingruber SolO


ULAAtlasVSolOFig. 2: Atlas V SolO rocket at platform 41, Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral [ULA on Twitter]

After c. 20 years of project planning, finally Solar Orbiter is being readied for launch from Cape Canaveral towards the sun. This ESA/NASA mission event is most likely to liftoff from Florida on the 10th of february, 2020 at 5:03 h [CET] local time (Kiel), and carries the, so far, most complete set of scientific instruments for studies of the sun and heliosphere. Pyload consists of 6 remote sensing and 4 in-situ Instruments, which allows us to untangle some questions, concerning the evolution and control of the heliosphere by the sun. The IEAP designed and constructed 3 of the sensor heads, which combine the Energetic Particle Detector (EPD) Ensemble, EPT, HET, STEP, and made contributions to the fourth, SIS. The EPD sensors are going to measure a wide energy range or particles, like electrones, protones, and iones. Because of it's previous collaboration with other missions, Solar Orbiter is going to offer new, unique possibilities, to lift the veil over secrets of solar- and interplanetary physics.

Solar Orbiter ATLAS V rocket launch as "Public Viewing Event" is going to take place the 10/02/2020, at 05:03 h CET.

[actualised last 10/02/2020, 05:26 h [CET]

ESA: 'We have a mission!!' ULA: 'Solar Ray Deployment!'

05:56 h:

Separation! #SolarOrbiter has been deployed by the #AtlasV for the European Space Agency and NASA. The spacecraft will spend the next decade make looping orbits around the sun and using 10 instruments to observe solar physics in unprecedented detail.

05:26 h:

Liftoff commenced precisely at 05:03 h CET, first stage jettisoned correctly, next stage to be confirmed c. 30 min later

Launch party / Public Viewing in celebration of Solar Orbiter launch at the IEAP:
Date: 10.02.2020
Time: 05:03 h, event-start c. 04:15 h Kiel local time
Place: Max Planck auditorium, CAU, physics department, Leibnizstraße 13, 24118 Kiel

Public countdown - event with the press (TV, Radio) and presentations
Updates about launch time will be posted here, in a timely manner. Participation is highly welcome, as well as help of any kind, please contact the secretary or organizer, Mr Martin Kruse:

Schedule launch event Kiel, localtime [CET]
04:15 h Doors open
04:30 h Welcome by Dr. Verena Heidrich - Meisner
04:45 h Llive stream transmission via ESA Web TV with commentary by Dr. Sönke Burmeister
05:03 h Lift off of Atlas – V – rocket
05:10 h Live Telecon with Prof Dr Robert Wimmer - Schweingruber from Cape Canaveral
05:20 h Commentaries by Prof Dr Bernd Heber about Kiels Extraterrestric group contribution to Solar Orbiter
05:30 h Questions and discussion rounde
06:20 h ESA anouncement about the successful rocket launch


AtlasVSolOFig. 3: ULA Atlas V SolO rocket, ready for launch form platform 41, Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral [ESA Twitter]






European ESA launch live stream


ESA Twitter news feed

ULA rocket Twitter news feed

Kennedy Space Center Twitter news feed

CAU press:

Kiel: Ganz nah an der Sonne CAU 10/02/2020

Countdown SolO CAU 11/17/2016

ESA Multimedia mission:

['#SolarOrbiter #WeAreAllSolarOrbiters']


  ESA Multimedia Kit


All orbits [actualised]:

Solar Orbiter Orbits



Current Press-releases [Continuous updates]:


SOLO launch monday, feb. 10, 2020, 5:03 CET

SolO IEAP Kollaboration







SolO launch delayed []



CAU IEAP SolO Kollaboration


Solar Orbiter Transit to Cape Canaveral:

SolO on Flickr

Even more links for this launch:

ESA SolO Info Arrival at Kennedy Space Center




Solar Orbiter Spacecraft



Solar Orbiter full setup




'Solar Orbiter definitv ausgewählt', german CAU press-release:

ESA Mission Solar Orbiter CAU