Mission Design

Solar Probe Plus will use seven Venus flybys over nearly seven years, using the gravity of Earth's sister planet to gradually shrink its oval-shaped orbit around the Sun. The spacecraft will will eventually come about 3.7 million miles (5.9 million kilometers) from the Sun, well within the orbit of Mercury and about eight times closer than any spacecraft has come before.

The Essentials

 

Artist's concept of the Solar Probe Plus spacecraft, fully deployed in cruise configuration, getting one of seven gravity assists from Venus.

Mission Design

The baseline Solar Probe Plus trajectory uses Venus flybys and no deep space maneuvers to reach a minimum perihelion of 8.5 solar radii (above the Sunís surface) in 6.4 years.