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NASA Parker Solar Probe launch delayed until Sunday

The probe failed to lift off in its mission to go closer to the sun than we've ever been before, but it will try again.

Bill Ingalls/NASA

NASA's planned mission to explore the sun was delayed Saturday as the rocket carrying the Parker Solar Probe failed to take off during the designated launch window.  

The craft was scheduled to blast off atop a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket from Florida's Kennedy Space Center in the early hours Saturday.

But as the rocket waited on the launchpad, the countdown was frozen twice due to a technical glitch and the launch delayed for over 45 minutes. As a result, the mission missed its planned launch window. The plan is to try again in 24 hours, with the new scheduled launch time set for 3:31 a.m. ET on Sunday. 

The probe will fly through the sun's corona to gather data on the sun's great mysteries, such as the solar winds that create aurorae on Earth and sometimes disrupt satellites and power grids. 

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If the probe launches successfully Sunday, it'll reach speeds of up to 430,000 miles per hour (700,000 km/h). At those speeds, it will reach the sun by November and should beam data back by the end of the year. 

The Parker Solar Probe is named after Eugene Parker, a University of Chicago professor emeritus in physics who first proposed the concept of the solar wind in a 1958 paper that was initially ridiculed but has come to be central to our understanding of the solar system and beyond.

Here's everything you need to know about the NASA Parker Solar Probe