Solar Orbiter blasts off to unlock mysteries of the Sun

The Solar Orbiter has blasted off from Florida on its way to unlock the mysteries of the Sun.

Nearly 1,000 scientists and engineers from Europe joined their US colleagues to watch the United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V rocket set off on its £1.3bn mission.

People also watched from nearby roads and beaches.

The spacecraft, designed and built in Stevenage, will help scientists learn more about the Sun and its influence on the solar system.

The Solar Orbiter will take two years to reach the Sun before circling it 22 times, sending back high-resolution photos and measuring solar wind.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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