Solar Orbiter had to go through space debris on its new flyby of the Sun

The solar probe of ESA and NASA had to fly over the planet before continuing on his way to the sun .


The probe Solar Orbiter  completed this weekend his approach to Earth before continuing their way towards the sun . A maneuver that involved risks because the spacecraft had to cross two regions populated by space debris.

Ultimately, the flyby was uneventful and the Solar Orbiter , whose mission is to study our star, is again active and producing data.

The flyby through debris clouds was completed successfully this weekend, a tweet from the mission states, and anticipates that the data obtained during its passage over Earth has been “excellent”, but has yet to finish processing it.

“The most risky in history”

The European Space Agency had reported last week that the flyby would be “the most risky so far for a scientific mission.” The closest moment to the planet occurred last Saturday, when it was located just 460 kilometers above North Africa and the Canary Islands.

On the path of its approach to Earth, the probe passed through two orbital regions that are populated by space debris. The first is the geostationary ring of satellites at 36,000 kilometers and the second is the collection of low Earth orbits at about 400 kilometers.

Flyby maneuver the Earth was essential to reduce the energy of the probe and align to close next step to the sun .

Thus begins the main scientific mission of Solar Orbiter , which was launched in February 2020 and since last July was in the cruise phase.

The return to the vicinity of the Earth offered to probe an opportunity to study its magnetic field, which is the interface of our atmosphere with the solar wind, a constant stream of particles emitted by the sun .