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NASA's Solar Orbiter is launching tonight on a rare Atlas V configuration

At 11:03pm ET, United Launch Alliance's Atlas V rocket will be launching from SLC-41 (Space Launch Complex 41) at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

This Atlas V is in the "411" configuration, meaning it is sporting 1 strap-on Solid Rocket Motor, 1 Centaur engine on the second stage, and a 4m fairing encapsulating the payload.

The payload on this mission is the Solar Orbiter spacecraft that will observe the sun with high-resolution telescopes and provide the first ever images of the Sun's poles. It will also help further understand the solar winds that come from the sun and help with improving our space-weather forecasting to protect humans and technology on Earth and in Space.

Photo: Kevin Quick // Spaceflight News

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