In Greek mythology, Daedalus warns his son, Icarus, to keep a safe distance from the sun, when both of them attempt to escape from Crete with the help of wings held together by wax. As expected, the son does not listen and the melting adhesive makes Icarus’ wings disintegrate. The radiation of the sun can be damaging, but without its energy, there would be no life on our planet. So it’s no surprise that humans have always showed a keen interest in the center of our solar system. Modern technology developed for aerospace and astronomy now makes it possible to look much closer at the sun than the generations before us dared to dream.
The Solar Orbiter satellite space probe, a joint project between ESA (European Space Agency) and NASA, started its journey in February 2020 in order to solve a few more of the sun’s secrets. Helping obtain the answers is a fast tip/tilt steering mirror platform from PI, used for the secondary mirror of one of the central experiments, the Polarimetric and Helioseismic Imager (PHI).
The Solar Orbiter received its "ready-for-take-off" call at 5:03 am EST on February 10, 2020 in Cape Canaveral AFS Launch Complex 41. The main objective of this joint project between the ESA and NASA is to study the formation of the solar wind and the underlying dynamic processes on the sun. Later in June, ESA published their first images, which have attracted worldwide attention and great interest.