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Boost into the third dimension

February 8, 2017 - Press release

25 Years ago Solar Probe Ulysses got a gravity assist by Jupiter to leave the ecliptic plane to explore the "never seen before" poles of the Sun

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Friedrichshafen, 08/02/2017 - After sixteen months of interplanetary cruise, ESA/NASA´sSolar Probe Ulysses arrived on 8 February 1992 at Jupiter the Solar System´s largest planet. A Jupiter gravity-assist was used to place the spacecraft, built by Airbus, in its unique trajectory which took the probe into the previously unexplored third dimension of the heliosphere. Ulysses surveyed the environment above and below the poles of the Sun.

In the course of its 17.5 year mission Ulysses showed - among other results - that the heliospheric magnetic field is more complicated than had been thought. Ulysses also observed the solar wind in four dimensions, showed that energetic particles are present at all phases of a solar cycle, detected dust particles of interstellar origin and directly measured the properties of interstellar gas for the first time.

The spacecraft was retired mid-2008 after flawless operation and exceeding its designed lifetime of five years by far.

About Airbus

Airbus is a global leader in aeronautics, space and related services. In 2015, it generated revenues of €64.5 billion and employed a workforce of around 136,600. Airbus offers the most comprehensive range of passenger airliners from 100 to more than 600 seats. Airbus is also a European leader providing tanker, combat, transport and mission aircraft, as well as Europe’s number one space enterprise and the world’s second largest space business. In helicopters, Airbus provides the most efficient civil and military rotorcraft solutions worldwide.

Press contacts:

Ralph Heinrich
+49 (0)171 30 49 751
ralph.heinrich@airbus.com

Jeremy Close
+44 (0)7766 536 572
jeremy.close@airbus.com

Alain Dupiech
+33 (0)7 86 29 54 71
alain.dupiech@airbus.com

Francisco Lechón
+34 630 196 993
francisco.lechon@airbus.com