NASA's Parker Solar Probe Mission to the Sun in Pictures

Another Step Forward

Ed Whitman/NASA/Johns Hopkins APL

On July 6, 2018, the Parker Solar Probe sits in a clean room at Astrotech Space Operations in Florida following installation of its heat shield.

Destination: Solar Corona

Glenn Benson/NASA

Technicians and engineers test the Parker Solar Probe with light bars at the Astrotech processing facility in Titusville, Florida. The craft is scheduled to begin its journey to the Sun's corona in August 2018.

Mission Ready


In the clean room, NASA's Parker Solar Probe is ready for the launch pad as it has cleared the final procedures.

Arrival of the Payload

Kim Shiflett/NASA

Inside its payload fairing, the Parker Solar Probe arrives at Space Launch Complex 37 on July 30, 2018. The mission is set to observe the Sun's corona, offering revolutionary understanding of the star and the Sun-Earth connection.

Clear Skies

Ben Smegelsky/NASA

The Delta IV Heavy space vehicle, with the Parker Solar Probe atop, is raised to vertical at the Vertical Integration Facility at Cape Canaveral.

Parker Solar Probe's heat shield installation

Ed Whitman/NASA/Johns Hopkins APL

Parker Solar Probe's heat shield installation.

Parker Solar Probe's heat shield

Ed Whitman/NASA/Johns Hopkins APL

Parker Solar Probe's heat shield will reflect as much of the sun's energy as possible away from the spacecraft as it approaches, as well as minimizing heat convection with two panels of superheated carbon-carbon composite surrounding a carbon foam core.

Parker Solar Probe's heat shield

Ed Whitman/NASA/Johns Hopkins APL

The Parker Solar Probe's heat shield was tested in a vacuum chamber in December 2017.

Dreaming Big

Steve Gribben/NASA/Johns Hopkins APL

A NASA illustrator's conception of the Parker Solar Probe in space.

The Journey Begins


The Parker Solar Probe is scheduled to launch atop a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket between July 31 and Aug. 19, 2018.

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at: Staff
News and editorial team is the premier source of space exploration, innovation and astronomy news, chronicling (and celebrating) humanity's ongoing expansion across the final frontier. Originally founded in 1999, is, and always has been, the passion of writers and editors who are space fans and also trained journalists. Our current news team consists of Editor-in-Chief Tariq Malik; Editor Hanneke Weitering, Senior Space Writer Mike Wall; Senior Writer Meghan Bartels; Senior Writer Chelsea Gohd, Senior Writer Tereza Pultarova and Staff Writer Alexander Cox, focusing on e-commerce. Senior Producer Steve Spaleta oversees our space videos, with Diana Whitcroft as our Social Media Editor.