NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine tweeted after the launch: “We have a healthy spacecraft! Congratulations to the @NASA, @esa and @ulalaunch teams on a successful launch of #Solar Orbiter!
“I’m excited about this incredible mission that will conduct trailblazing science in heliophysics and give us our first images of the Sun’s poles.”
ESA’s director of science also said: “As humans, we have always been familiar with the importance of the Sun to life on Earth, observing it and investigation how it works in detail, but we have also long known its potential to disrupt everyday life should we be in the firing line of a powerful solar storm.
“By the end of our Solar Orbiter mission, we will know more about the hidden force responsible for the Sun’s changing behaviour and its influence on our home planet than ever before.”