Washington: Solar Orbiter, a new joint mission of the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA to investigate the solar poles, was launched with a rocket from the United Launch Alliance Atlas V from Florida.
Mission controllers at the European Space Operations Center in Darmstadt confirmed that it received a signal from the spaceship on Monday at 12:24 p.m., indicating that its solar panels had been used successfully.
In the first two days after Sunday's launch, Solar Orbiter will deploy its instrument boom and multiple antennas that communicate with the earth and collect scientific data.
Solar Orbiter is on a unique path that enables its extensive range of instruments to provide humanity with the first images of the sun's poles, according to NASA.
This trajectory includes 22 approximations of the sun that put the spacecraft into orbit around Mercury to study the sun and its impact on space.
"As human beings, we have always been familiar with the importance of the sun for life on earth, have observed and examined how it works in detail, but we have also known for a long time that it has the potential to disrupt everyday life, if we're in the line of a strong solar storm, "said Gunther Hasinger, ESA science director.
"At the end of our Solar Orbiter mission, we will know more than ever about the hidden power that is responsible for the changing behavior of the sun and its impact on our home planet," said Hasinger.
Solar Orbiter will spend approximately three months in its commissioning phase, during which the mission team will review the spacecraft's 10 scientific instruments to ensure that they are working properly.
Solar Orbiter will take approximately two years to reach its primary scientific orbit.
The mission combines two main study modes. In-situ instruments measure the surroundings of the spacecraft, record electrical and magnetic fields, for example, and pass particles and waves.
The remote sensing instruments will remotely map the sun, along with its atmosphere and material flow, and collect data that will help scientists understand the sun's interior.
During its mission, Solar Orbiter will successively use Venus gravity aids to move its orbit closer to the sun and lift it out of the ecliptic plane, the US space agency said.