2 weeks after
2 weeks since the launch of Solar Orbiter … what has happened since then? When a satellite gets launched, it is in its most compact form, otherwise it would not fit in the head of the rocket. So the first thing that was done when Solar Orbiter got delivered into its orbit, was to unfold the solar panels. This is crucial because they provide solar power to operate the spacecraft! And Solar Orbiter had much more extensions to unfold: 3 long antenna’s, 1 antenna dish at the bottom to communicate with Earth, and 1 instrument boom at the back that keeps some instruments in the shade and away from the noise of the spacecraft. Two instruments got switched on already, just for a few days, and they sent their first data to Earth. They seem to be working fine, ufff. Also other systems onboard were switched on and used for the first time, for example the onboard memory where all the images and measurements will be stored. Next week, starting 24th
of February, many more instruments will be switched on, including some of the telescopes and camera’s. The doors in the heat shield are still closed so they will not look at the Sun just yet.