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Parker Solar Probe Achieves 20th Close Encounter with the Sun
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Parker Solar Probe Achieves 20th Close Encounter with the Sun
by Clarence Oxford
Los Angeles CA (SPX) Jul 08, 2024

NASA's Parker Solar Probe successfully made its 20th close approach to the Sun on June 30, 2024. The probe came within 4.51 million miles (7.26 million kilometers) of the Sun's surface, equaling its previous distance record.

"The close approach (known as perihelion) occurred at 3:47 UTC (11:47 p.m. EDT on June 29), with Parker Solar Probe moving 394,736 miles per hour (635,266 kilometers per hour) around the Sun, again matching its own record." On July 2, mission operators at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, confirmed the spacecraft was in good health after receiving a beacon tone indicating normal system operations.

"The spacecraft checked in with mission operators at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland (where the spacecraft was also designed and built), with a beacon tone indicating it was in good health and all systems were operating normally."

This milestone represents the midpoint of the mission's 20th solar encounter, which began on June 25 and will continue until July 5.

Parker Solar Probe is scheduled to repeat this close approach on September 30, 2024. The mission will then proceed to make three final planned close approaches, beginning on December 24, 2024. During this approach, aided by the last Venus gravity assist on November 6, the spacecraft will reach a distance of just 3.8 million miles from the Sun, traveling at about 430,000 miles per hour.

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