Solar Orbiter launch moved to 2018 13 April 2015 The launch of Solar Orbiter, an ESA mission to explore the Sun in unprecedented detail, is now planned to take place in October 2018. The launch was previously targeted for July 2017. Read more
Solar Orbiter is a mission dedicated to solar and heliospheric physics. It was selected as the first medium-class mission of ESA's Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 Programme. The programme outlines key scientific questions which need to be answered about the development of planets and the emergence of life, how the Solar System works, the origins of the Universe, and the fundamental physics at work in the Universe.
Solar Orbiter - Exploring the Sun–Heliosphere Connection
26 July 2013
The heliosphere represents a uniquely accessible domain of space, where fundamental physical processes common to solar, astrophysical and laboratory plasmas can be studied under conditions impossible to reproduce on Earth and unfeasible to observe from astronomical distances. Solar Orbiter, the first mission of ESA's Cosmic Vision 2015 - 2025 programme, will address the central question of heliophysics: How does the Sun create and control the heliosphere? In this paper, we present the scientific goals of the mission and provide an overview of the mission implementation.
D. Müller, R.G. Marsden, O.C. St. Cyr, H.R. Gilbert for The Solar Orbiter Team, in Solar Phys (2013) 285:25-70; doi: 10.1007/s11207-012-0085-7 Read more
Solar Orbiter definition study report (Red Book) 25 July 2011 Reference: ESA/SRE(2011)14; Issue 1. This report, the so-called Red Book, presents an overview of the Solar Orbiter mission in its present state of advanced definition. Solar Orbiter is a medium-size (M-class) mission of the ESA Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 programme, and competes for one of the two launch slots foreseen in 2017 and 2018. Read more