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Wikipedia and this answer explain that it will take several flyby's of Venus for ESA's Solar Orbiter to reach 34° of inclination.

Question: Currently, what's the highest heliocentric inclination achieved by a deep space probe, without using the outer planets (i.e. Jupiter and beyond)? Will Solar orbiter set a new record?

Note that by using Jupiter Ulysses achieved a heliocentric inclination of over 79°!

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Some candidates:

  • The Deep Impact spacecraft's impactor, matching Tempel 1's inclination of 10.47 degrees upon collision.

  • The Dawn spacecraft, matching Ceres' inclination of 10.59 degrees.

  • The NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft, matching 433 Eros' inclination of 10.83 degrees upon landing.

Solar Orbiter is currently beating all of them, at ~14 degrees.

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