Goodbye Ulysses

Still remember Ulysses?

Few months ago, we talk about Ulysses – a spacecraft designed to look at the Sun, and has been out there for over 17 years. After all these years, the spacecraft’s power sources are unable to support its instrument and will cease operations in these few days.

Ulysses

“When the last bits of data finally arrive, it surely will be tough to say goodbye,” said Nigel Angold, ESA’s Ulysses mission operations manager. “But any sadness I might feel will pale in comparison to the pride of working on such a magnificent mission. Although operations will be ending, scientific discoveries from Ulysses data will continue for years to come.”

Ulysses ends its career after revealing that the magnetic field emanating from the sun’s poles is much weaker than previously observed. This could mean the upcoming solar maximum period will be less intense than in recent history.

“Over almost two decades of science observations by Ulysses, we have learned a lot more than we expected about our star and the way it interacts with the space surrounding it,” said Richard Marsden, Ulysses project scientist and mission manager for the European Space Agency (ESA). “Solar missions have appeared in recent years, but Ulysses is still unique today. Its special point of view over the sun’s poles never has been covered by any other mission.”

Ulysses was launched aboard space shuttle Discovery on Oct. 6, 1990. From Earth orbit, it was propelled toward Jupiter by solid-fuel rocket motors. Ulysses passed Jupiter on Feb. 8, 1992. The giant planet’s gravity then bent the spacecraft’s flight path downward and away from the ecliptic plane to place the spacecraft in a final orbit around the sun that would take it past our star’s north and south poles.

Source: JPL News Release

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~ by thChieh on July 1, 2008.

2 Responses to “Goodbye Ulysses”

  1. […] Goodbye Ulysses « My Dark Sky […]

  2. […] is Still Alive! Last month, ESA announced that the joint ESA/NASA mission Ulysses will officially conclude on 1 July this year, after over 17 years of […]

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