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Airbus: Solar Orbiter completes all tests

( - Solar Orbiter, the ESA's flagship mission to study the Sun, has successfully completed all its tests and is set to be flown to Cape Canaveral, Florida, for its launch in February 2020.

Built by Airbus in Stevenage, Solar Orbiter will study the Sun in detail to better understand its effects on the solar system.

"The spacecraft carries a suite of complementary instruments that will measure the particles, fields and waves of the plasma (particles, electrical and magnetic fields) through which it travels, and at the same time make observations of the Sun's surface and outer atmosphere," Airbus said.

"To ensure the very sensitive instruments can measure the Sun's fields and particles, the spacecraft itself must be totally invisible to its sensors, which has pushed us to the absolute limits of what is technically achievable," said Eckard Settelmeyer, Airbus' Head of Earth Observation, Navigation and Science Institutional Satellite Projects.

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