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Ulysses – The first probe to fly over the Sun’s poles

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  • Launched in 1990
  • Ended in 2009
  • Mission: To explore the Sun’s surface and heliosphere
  • Airbus Defence and Space led the construction of the spacecraft

Launched in 1990 by the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA to explore the Sun’s surface and heliosphere, Ulysses became the first probe to fly over the Sun's poles.

The spacecraft, built by Airbus Defence and Space-led team, returned data about the solar wind and the magnetic field around the polar regions until its mission ended in 2009.

The deep-space probe Ulysses surpassed its design lifetime of five years by almost 14 years.