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Solar System Exploration
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Ulysses Mission to Comets Ulysses Mission to Jupiter Ulysses Mission to Our Solar System

Goals: Ulysses primary science target was our Sun, but since existing rocket engines weren't powerful enough to boost a spacecraft above the Ecliptic Plane (where most planets and spacecraft orbit the Sun), Ulysses used Jupiter's gravity to hurl it into a solar-polar orbit.

Accomplishments: During the Jupiter flybys, scientists use Ulysses' instruments to study the giant planet and its influence on the solar system, which is second only to the Sun.


Key Dates
6 Oct 1990:  Launch (11:47:16 UT)
8 Feb 1992:  Jupiter Gravity Assist
26 Jun 1994 - 5 Nov 1994:  1st South Polar Pass
13 Mar 1995:  1st Ecliptic Crossing
19 Jun 1995 - 29 Sep 1995:  1st North Polar Pass
1 May 1996:  Comet Hyakutake Encounter
30 Jun 2009:  End of Mission
Status: Successful
Fast Facts
Ulysses Facts Ulysses was the first spacecraft to study our Sun's poles.

Ulysses was launched aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery STS-41 mission (right).

The spacecraft used Jupiter's powerful gravity to hurl it into an orbit that couldn't be reached with conventional rocket power.

Ulysses was the first spacecraft to fly by the Sun's polar regions.

Ulysses was launched by the Space Shuttle Discovery.

Ulysses was built by the European Space Agency, which managed it in cooperation with NASA.
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Last Updated: 15 Aug 2013