Solar Orbiter
21 Sep 2009



Solar Orbiter is a mission of collaboration between the ESA and NASA. Its goal is to address the central question of Heliophysics: how does the Sun create and control the heliosphere?

Artists impression of the Solar Orbiter spacecraft in front of the sun

​​​​​​​​Solar Orbiter​​

Copyright: ESA/ATG medialab; NASA/SDO/ P. Testa (CfA)

Solar Orbiter is designed to identify the origins and causes of the solar wind, the heliospheric magnetic field, the solar energetic particles, the transient interplanetary disturbances, and the Sun's magnetic field.

​RAL Space Involvement
RAL Space leads an international consortium that designed, developed and calibrated an Extreme Ultraviolet Spectrometer, SPICE (Spectral Investigation of the Coronal Environment). The RAL Space team will also be involved in the post-launch operations of SPICE. 

Solar Physics

Mission Objectives

Making close up, out-of-ecliptic observations of the Sun and inner heliosphere.  SPICE will provide the first out-of-ecliptic spectroscopic observations of the Sun's polar regions. Top-level scientific questions that will be addressed by Solar Orbiter:
• What drives the solar wind and where does the coronal magnetic field originate from?
• How do solar transients drive heliospheric variability?
• How do solar eruptions produce energetic particle radiation that fills the heliosphere? 
• How does the solar dynamo work and drive connections between the Sun and the heliosphere?

​Launch Date

February 2020​

ESA, IAS (France), MPS (Germany), PMOD (Switzerland), NASA GSFC (USA), SwRI (USA), ITA (University of Oslo)​

Further Project Information​                                                                                                        

​For more information please contact: RAL Space Enquiries​​