Depending on the exact launch date, the cruise will take between just under two years to three and a half years, and the nominal science phase will last around four years, adding up to a total nominal mission duration of six to seven years. The total extended mission duration is 10 years.
The orbit characteristics of Solar Orbiter evolve significantly from one orbit to the next as do the designated encounter periods in which Solar Orbiter will be out of contact with Earth. Thus detailed planning by the Science Working Team (SWT) and SOC is required for every science orbit.
All telemetry data will be received at ESOC and filed in a central archive in the form of raw telemetry packets. From there, the data will be transferred to the Science Operations Center at ESAC, which distributes the data to the individual instrument teams for calibration and verification. The instrument teams will then return calibrated data products to the SOC for inclusion in the ESA science archive, which is openly accessible by the international community.