PSP Bibliography


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Design, fabrication, test, launch, and early operation of the parker solar probe propulsion system

AuthorKijewski, Seth; Bushman, Stewart;
KeywordsAutomobile manufacture; Fabrication; Launch vehicles; NASA; Nitrogen compounds; Orbits; Probes; Rockets; Space flight; Stars; Parker Engineering
AbstractThe Parker Solar Probe (PSP) spacecraft, part of NASA’s Living With a Star program, launched on 12 August 2018, atop a Delta IV Heavy launch vehicle with a STAR-48BV upper stage. As NASA’s mission to "touch the Sun," Parker Solar Probe will fly within 3.83 million miles of the Sun and will spend its lifetime studying the gaseous envelope surrounding it: the corona. Over the seven-year mission, PSP will orbit the Sun 24 times and utilize seven Venus fly-bys to gradually shrink its orbit around the Sun. The spacecraft possesses a blowdown monopropellant hydrazine propulsion system with twelve Aerojet Rocketdyne 1.0 lbf (4.4 N) MR-111C thrusters to provide Delta–V and reaction wheel desaturation. The propulsion system was fabricated and installed by Aerojet Rocketdyne and then tested at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, MD. On 3 October 2018, PSP performed its first Venus flyby. Shortly after, on October 31, 2018, PSP moved inside 0.25 AU of the Sun and began its first solar encounter. Over the next twelve days, Mission Operations detected five beacon tone 1 signals from PSP, indicating that the spacecraft was operating nominally and on 12 November 2018, PSP successfully completed the first encounter. Merely five months later, PSP successfully completed its second encounter, the second in a series of three encounters at the same perihelion distance before the second Venus fly-by brings the orbit closer to the Sun. The propulsion system thus far has performed nominally and due to the excellent performance of the launch vehicle, PSP has significantly more propellant remaining than pre-launch predictions.
© 2019, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc, AIAA. All rights reserved.
Year of Publication2019
Number of Pages
Date Published