Launch Photos! NASA's Parker Solar Probe Blasts Off to Touch the Sun

Destination: Sun

NASA/Bill Ingalls

NASA's Parker Solar Probe launched on a mission to touch the sun on Aug. 12, 2018, riding atop a ULA Delta IV Heavy rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. See photos from the dazzling nighttime launch here!

Streaking to the Sun

United Launch Alliance

The Delta IV Heavy rocket carrying NASA's Parker Solar Probe streaks into space in this long-exposure view of the launch from the United Launch Allianace.


Bill Ingalls/NASA

On Sunday (Aug. 12) at 3:31 a.m. EDT (0731 GMT), the Parker Solar Probe launched on its mission to the sun.

Eugene Parker Watches Parker Solar Probe Launch

NASA/Glenn Benson

Solar scientist Eugene Parker watches as NASA's Parker Solar Probe, named for him, launches into space from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida on Aug. 12, 2018. The spacecraft will fly through the sun's outer atmosphere, the super-hot corona.

A Dazzling Launch

NASA/Bill Ingalls

The engine plumes from the Delta IV Rocket launching the Parker Solar Probe created a dazzling sight to spectators, as seen in this NASA photo.

Streaking Through

NASA/Bill Ingalls

This long-exposure view of NASA's Parker Solar Probe launch shows the spacecraft and its Delta IV Heavy rocket streaking through a think cloud layer during the ascent into space.


NASA/Bill Ingalls

The spectacular launch of the Parker Solar Probe is reflected in water around its Cape Canaveral Air Force Station launch site in this stunning view by NASA photographer Bill Ingalls.

A Tower View

NASA/Bill Ingalls

This view from NASA photographer Bill Ingalls shows the Parker Solar Probe's launch as viewed from a camera on the Mobile Service Tower that housed the mission's Delta IV Heavy rocket before flight.

Launching to the Sun

United Launch Alliance

NASA's Parker Solar Probe rode a Delta IV Heavy rocket, one of the most powerful rockets in use today, to begin its mission to the sun.


United Launch Alliance

The Parker Solar Probe will eventually be the fastest spacecraft in history. In 2024, after a series of flybys around Venus and 24 orbits of the sun, it will be moving at a whopping 430,000 mph (692,000 km/h).

Powering Up for the Sun

United Launch Alliance

A view of the three first-stage boosters of the ULA Delta IV Heavy rocket that launched NASA's Parker Solar Probe.

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Meghan Bartels
Senior Writer

Meghan is a senior writer at and has more than five years' experience as a science journalist based in New York City. She joined in July 2018, with previous writing published in outlets including Newsweek and Audubon. Meghan earned an MA in science journalism from New York University and a BA in classics from Georgetown University, and in her free time she enjoys reading and visiting museums. Follow her on Twitter at @meghanbartels.