Volume 642, October 2020
The Solar Orbiter mission
|Number of page(s)||31|
|Published online||30 September 2020|
The Solar Orbiter mission
European Space Agency, ESTEC, PO Box 299, 2200 AG Noordwijk, The Netherlands
2 NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, USA
3 European Space Agency, ESAC, Camino Bajo del Castillo s/n, Urb. Villafranca del Castillo, 28692 Villanueva de la Cañada, Madrid, Spain
4 INAF – Astrophysical Observatory of Torino, Italy
5 Institut d’Astrophysique Spatiale, CNRS, Univ. Paris-Sud, Université Paris-Saclay, Bât. 121, 91405 Orsay, France
6 Royal Observatory of Belgium, Ringlaan -3- Av. Circulaire, 1180 Brussels, Belgium
7 Space and Atmospheric Physics, The Blackett Laboratory, Imperial College London, London SW7 2AZ, UK
8 Naval Research Laboratory, Washington DC 20375, USA
9 University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland, Switzerland
10 Space Sciences Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley, USA
11 LESIA, Observatoire de Paris, Université PSL, CNRS, Sorbonne Université, Univ. Paris Diderot, Sorbonne Paris Cité, 5 Place Jules Janssen, 92195 Meudon, France
12 Mullard Space Science Laboratory, University College London, Holmbury St. Mary, Dorking, Surrey RH5 6NT, UK
13 Centre Spatial de Liège, Université de Liège, Av. du Pré-Aily B29, 4031 Angleur, Belgium
14 Universidad de Alcalá, Space Research Group, 28805 Alcalá de Henares, Spain
15 Dip. di Fisica e Astronomia, Universitị di Firenze, Largo E. Fermi 2, 50125 Firenze, Italy
16 Max-Planck-Institut für Sonnensystemforschung (MPS), Justus-von-Liebig-Weg 3, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
17 School of Space Research, Kyung Hee University, Yongin, Gyeonggi-Do 446-701, Republic of Korea
18 INAF – Istituto di Astrofisica e Planetologia Spaziali, Rome, Italy
19 Rosseland Centre for Solar Physics, University of Oslo, PO Box 1029, Blindern, 0315 Oslo, Norway
20 Institute of Theoretical Astrophysics, University of Oslo, PO Box 1029, Blindern, 0315 Oslo, Norway
21 RAL Space, STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Harwell, Didcot OX11 0QX, UK
22 Physikalisch-Meteorologisches Observatorium Davos, World Radiation Center, 7260 Davos Dorf, Switzerland
23 ETH Zürich, Hönggerberg Campus, Zürich, Switzerland
24 Space Science & Engineering Division, Southwest Research Institute, 1050 Walnut St., Suite 300, Boulder, CO 80302, USA
25 Southwest Research Institute, 6220 Culebra Road, San Antonio, TX 78238, USA
26 Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planétologie, 9, Avenue du Colonel Roche, BP 4346, 31028 Toulouse Cedex 4, France
27 Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (IAA-CSIC), Apartado de Correos 3004, 18080 Granada, Spain
28 Division for Extraterrestrial Physics, Institute for Experimental and Applied Physics (IEAP), Christian Albrechts University at Kiel, Leibnizstr. 11, 24118 Kiel, Germany
29 University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA
Accepted: 27 July 2020
Aims. Solar Orbiter, the first mission of ESA’s Cosmic Vision 2015–2025 programme and a mission of international collaboration between ESA and NASA, will explore the Sun and heliosphere from close up and out of the ecliptic plane. It was launched on 10 February 2020 04:03 UTC from Cape Canaveral and aims to address key questions of solar and heliospheric physics pertaining to how the Sun creates and controls the Heliosphere, and why solar activity changes with time. To answer these, the mission carries six remote-sensing instruments to observe the Sun and the solar corona, and four in-situ instruments to measure the solar wind, energetic particles, and electromagnetic fields. In this paper, we describe the science objectives of the mission, and how these will be addressed by the joint observations of the instruments onboard.
Methods. The paper first summarises the mission-level science objectives, followed by an overview of the spacecraft and payload. We report the observables and performance figures of each instrument, as well as the trajectory design. This is followed by a summary of the science operations concept. The paper concludes with a more detailed description of the science objectives.
Results. Solar Orbiter will combine in-situ measurements in the heliosphere with high-resolution remote-sensing observations of the Sun to address fundamental questions of solar and heliospheric physics. The performance of the Solar Orbiter payload meets the requirements derived from the mission’s science objectives. Its science return will be augmented further by coordinated observations with other space missions and ground-based observatories.
Key words: Sun: general / Sun: magnetic fields / Sun: activity / Sun: atmosphere / solar wind / methods: observational
© ESO 2020
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