The BBC News article European SolO probe ready to take on audacious mission links to the ESA video shown below and contains this 5 minute audio interview with NASA deputy project scientist on the mission Holly Gilbert who outlines several interesting aspects of the mission and complementary measurements with Parker Solar Probe.

The video appears (at least to me) to end with SolO crashing into Venus; is that really the plan? If so, why? If not, then what is the plan for its orbit after that flyby?

  • $\begingroup$ companion question: What is ESA's Solar Orbiter's target inclination? $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Oct 19, 2019 at 18:23
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    $\begingroup$ This trajectory design paper does not mention end of mission, but does note the Venus flybys will be at an altitude of 350 km, close to the minimum. So burning up the spacecraft should be possible with a small correction maneuver. $\endgroup$
    – Hobbes
    Oct 19, 2019 at 19:17
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    $\begingroup$ I am not sure of the endgame but NASA and ESA missions usually require End of Mission documents and plans that prevent the bus from being a future problem for other missions. "Hitting" Venus is much easier than the sun (i.e., much much less delta-v required) and the atmosphere is thick enough they probably wager almost everything will burn up to avoid contamination (if this is indeed their plan). $\endgroup$ Feb 22, 2021 at 23:01
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    $\begingroup$ @honeste_vivere good point, and thanks! It turns out there is an end-of-life tag so I've added it. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Feb 23, 2021 at 2:54


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