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Course correction keeps Parker Solar Probe on track for Venus flyby
The plot shows Parker Solar Probe's location and speed (relative to the Sun) as it conducts its science operations. The spacecraft is in a highly elliptical orbit around the Sun (the yellow dot at the center of the plot), reaching its aphelion during the course of the mission initially at Earth and eventually closing to the orbit of Venus. Parker Solar Probe will perform seven Venus flybys in order to more precisely set its trajectory toward the Sun; these flybys will slow the spacecraft down, instead of speeding it up, which is a more common use for planetary flybys.
Course correction keeps Parker Solar Probe on track for Venus flyby
by Michael Buckley for JHU News
Laurel MD (SPX) Aug 11, 2023

NASA's Parker Solar Probe executed a short maneuver on Aug. 3, 2023, that kept the spacecraft on track to hit the aim point for the mission's sixth Venus flyby on Monday, Aug. 21, 2023.

Operating on preprogrammed commands from mission control at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, Parker fired its small thrusters for 4.5 seconds, enough to adjust its trajectory by 77 miles and speed up - by 1.4 seconds - its closest approach to Venus. The precise timing and position are critical to that flyby, the sixth of seven approaches in which Parker uses the planet's gravity to tighten its orbit around the Sun.

"Parker's velocity is about 8.7 miles per second, so in terms of changing the spacecraft's speed and direction, this trajectory correction maneuver may seem insignificant," said Yanping Guo, mission design and navigation manager at APL. "However, the maneuver is critical to get us the desired gravity assist at Venus, which will significantly change Parker's speed and distance to the Sun".

Parker Solar Probe will be moving 394,742 miles per hour when it comes within just 4.5 million miles from the Sun's surface - breaking its own record for speed and solar distance - on Sept. 27, 2023. Follow the spacecraft's journey through the inner solar system on the Parker Solar Probe website.

Related Links
Parker Solar Probe
Venus Express News and Venusian Science

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