The Parker Solar Probe will spend seven years and 24 orbits of the sun

Travelling at 450,000mph (724,000kph) it will use seven Venus gravity assist flybys and will need to withstand temperatures outside the spacecraft that reach nearly 1,400°C

First closest approach

1 Nov 2018

Launch

31 July

2018

Sun

Mercury

orbit

Venus

Earth

Venus flyby

no.1

28 Sept 2018

First minimum

closest approach

19 Dec 2024

Closest passes of the sun, miles

Parker Solar Probe, launch 2018

3.7m

Helios 2, launched 1976

27m

Solar array

cooling

system

Thermal

protection

system

3m

High gain

antenna

Solar

array

wings

Closest passes of the sun, miles

First closest

approach

5 Nov 2018

Parker Solar Probe, launch 2018

3.7m

Helios 2, launched 1976

27m

Solar array

cooling

system

Thermal

protection

system

Launch

11 August

2018

Sun

Mercury

orbit

3m

Venus

Earth

Venus flyby

no.1

2 October 2018

First minimum

closest approach

December 2024

High gain

antenna

Solar array

wings