Ulysses HISCALE Pages
Launch. October 6, 1990, 7:47 a.m., by space shuttle Discovery.
Jupiter Flyby. Ulysses arrived at Jupiter 16 months after launch (February 1992). The primary aim of the flyby was to place the spacecraft into an out-of-ecliptic orbit over the poles of the sun. Scientific investigations at Jupiter were a secondary objective, but the opportunity to study Jupiter's magnetosphere was exploited to the greatest extent possible.
South Polar Pass. The south solar pass lasted 132 days. On September 13, 1994, nearly 4 years after launch, the Ulysses spacecraft reached the most southern point on its out-of-ecliptic orbit, 80.2 degrees south of the sun's equator, at a distance of 345 million km from the sun.
North Polar Pass. On June 19, 1995, Ulysses began its first north polar pass, which lasted till Sept. 29, 1995.
Second Orbit. The Ulysses spacecraft, still in excellent condition, then embarked on its second orbit of the sun. Conditions in the polar regions were dramatically different from those of the first orbit, as this second orbit occurred close to the maximum of solar cycle 23, a period of intense solar activity. The end of the second north polar pass occurred on August 31, 2001.
Third Orbit. On November 17, 2006, Ulysses again crossed into the Sun's south polar cap. The sun is again close to sunspot minimum, as it was during the first orbit, but the sun's magnetic field has reversed its polarity, which it does every 22 years.
The Ulysses mission ended in 2009.
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Last modified Sept. 21, 2010.