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Ulysses Spacecraft

mythical Greek hero, space shuttle Discovery, European Space Agency, ESA, solar wind

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Ulysses (spacecraft), name of an interplanetary spacecraft and its mission to measure the solar wind and magnetic field over the Sunís poles during periods of both high and low solar activity. The Ulysses mission is a joint project of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Launched in October 1990 from the space shuttle Discovery, Ulysses was first sent to Jupiter, which was used as a gravitational slingshot to bend the trajectory of the spacecraft into a path perpendicular to the plane in which all of the planets orbit the Sun. Ulysses is the first spacecraft ever to follow such a path. During early planning stages, the Ulysses mission was named the International Solar Polar Mission, but in 1984 its name was changed to Ulysses in honor of the mythical Greek hero, who quested for unknown regions beyond the Sun. The Ulysses craft passed by Jupiter in 1992 and by the Sun in 1994-1995. It passed Jupiterís orbit again in 1998 and by the Sun a second time in 2001.


Fries, Colin A., B.A., M.A., M.L.S.

Archivist and Librarioan, Hostory Office, National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Article key phrases:

mythical Greek hero, space shuttle Discovery, European Space Agency, ESA, solar wind, magnetic field, Jupiter, trajectory, planets, orbit, NASA, poles, periods, honor, Sun, October, time

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