28 Apr 2012

ESA to send satellite close to Sun

5:38 am on 28 April 2012

The European Space Agency plans to send a spacecraft closer to the Sun than any craft has ever gone before.

The mission of the Solar Orbiter will be to get a new insight into how the Sun works.

It will be able to withstand temperatures of more than 500 degrees when it takes up its position 42 million km from the Sun.

The craft will be built by Astrium UK for launching in 2017. The contract is worth 300 million euros (£245 million).

Solar Orbiter is a joint venture between ESA and NASA, which will supply a sensor and the rocket to launch the satellite.