NASA’s Parker Solar Probe has blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force station on its historic mission to the Sun.
The probe lit up the night sky as it blasted off at 3:31 a.m. EDT.
“It was a really clean launch,” Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, told reporters. “It took off like it should.”
“Everything was exactly like we thought it would be – it really was textbook,” he added.
Carried by a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket, Parker lifted off from Cape Canaveral’s Space Launch Complex 37. The launch had intially been scheduled for early Saturday, but last-minute technical glitches ate away at the launch window, prompting a 24-hour delay.
The $1.5 billion mission will take humanity closer to the Sun than ever before. Parker will be the first spacecraft to fly through the Sun’s corona, the outermost part of the star’s atmosphere. It is expected to reach the Sun in November.