Parker Solar Probe and Solar Orbiter orbits, animation
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Parker Solar Probe and Solar Orbiter orbits. Animation of the trajectories of the NASA spacecraft Parker Solar Probe (launch in 2018, blue line) and the ESA spacecraft Solar Orbiter (launch in 2020, green line). The orbits of Mars, Earth, Venus and Mercury are also shown. To reach the Sun, Parker Solar Probe will carry out seven fly-bys of Venus. Using a solar shield for protection, the probe will gradually approach to within 6 million kilometres of the solar surface (photosphere), making its closest approaches to the Sun in 2024 and 2025. The Parker Solar Probe orbit fades out after the nominal end of the mission in 2025. Solar Orbiter will reach its operational orbit (allowing it to view the poles of the Sun) in 2023. The red parts of the orbits are the operational science phases.