NASA’s Parker Solar Probe is approaching its third encounter with the Sun, and on May 6, 2019, the final 22GB transmission of planned science data, collected during the first two encounters, was successfully downlinked by the mission team at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland. This surprised the team because it was 50% more data than they estimated would be downlinked by this point in the mission. Read more for a video and additional information.
After observing the spacecraft’s operations during the commissioning phase, the Parker mission team determined that the telecom system could possibly deliver more downlink opportunities, thus maximizing the download of science data. So, the team capitalized on the higher downlink rate by instructing the Parker Solar Probe to record and send back extra science data gathered during its second solar encounter. An additional 25GB of science data is set to be downlinked to Earth between July 24 and Aug. 15.