The Ulysses Mission
"..Come, my friends, tis not too late to seek a newer world."
News story originally written on June 30, 1997
-Tennyson in "Ulysses"
Ulysses is a space mission designed to explore the unknown region of space above the north and south poles of the Sun. Ulysses is a joint mission of the European Space Agency (ESA)
and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
The ESA provided the spacecraft and the team that operates the spacecraft. NASA launched the spacecraft on the Shuttle
Discovery in October 1990. NASA is also responsible for radio communications and data management for the overall mission.
The Ulysses spacecraft flew by Jupiter in February 1992, for the gravity
assist needed to place the spacecraft into orbit around the Sun.
The purpose of the Ulysses mission is to investigate the solar magnetic
field, solar wind plasma, and
galactic cosmic rays coming from the Sun. There are 12 instruments
onboard Ulysses to help scientists investigate these solar topics.
The phenomena being studied by the Ulysses mission are strongly influenced by the 11 year solar cycle. The primary mission which ended in September 1995, extended over half of the solar cycle. The secondary
mission (or second pass around the Sun) happens during the second half of a cycle. It is here at solar maximum that Ulysses will encounter solar flares, coronal mass ejections and streamers.
With the first phase of its mission successfully completed, Ulysses is now in its second orbit of the Sun. This secondary phase will be finished in December 2001.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
includes issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist
, full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science, ranging from seismology
, rocks and minerals
, and Earth system science
You might also be interested in:
The gas in the solar corona is at very high temperatures (typically 1-2 million kelvins in most regions) so it is almost completely in a plasma state (made up of charged particles, mostly protons and electrons)....more
The Ulysses space probe has begun to investigate the Sun during solar maximum. Ulysses is now observing the South pole of the Sun. Ulysses has passed this way before, but during solar minimum. "Ulysses...more
There is a solar eclipse coming to a movie theater near you! Actually, this is better than a theater! This is the real thing! There will be a total solar eclipse on February 26th. The total eclipse will...more
On March 30, 1998, the TRACE spacecraft will be launched. TRACE stands for Transition Region and Coronal Explorer (try saying that fast three times!). This spacecraft has four telescopes on it. The telescopes...more
The TRACE spacecraft was launched April 1st at 9:42 p.m. EST from the central California coast. TRACE stands for Transition Region and Coronal Explorer (try saying that fast three times!). This spacecraft...more
It was another exciting and frustrating year for the space science program. It seemed that every step forward led to one backwards. Either way, NASA led the way to a great century of discovery. Unfortunately,...more
The Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off from Kennedy Space Center on October 29th at 2:19 p.m. EST. The weather was great as Discovery took 8 1/2 minutes to reach orbit. This was the United States' 123rd...more