The SWA plasma suite on board Solar Obiter

Author: Raffaella D’Amicis on behalf on the SWA team
Affiliation: INAF/IAPS Rome

Solar Orbiter, scheduled to be launched in October 2018, will be the first spacecraft since Helios to sample the inner heliosphere at distances as close to the Sun as 60 solar radii.
It will be equipped with both in-situ instruments significantly more capable than those flown on Helios, as well as with remote-sensing instruments for the observation of the corona and photosphere, not present on board Helios.
Its orbital design allows the spacecraft to achieve approximate co-rotation with the Sun for periods of several days, measuring the solar wind plasma and magnetic field in-situ while simultaneously observing their source regions on the Sun. It will then be possible to relate in-situ measurements back to their source regions and structures on the Sun.
Solar Orbiter will also provide observations of the Sun’s polar regions from out of the ecliptic measurements reaching inclinations up to more than 30° respect to the solar equator.

In this presentation, an overview on the Solar Wind Analyser (SWA) on board Solar Orbiter will be given focusing on the science allowed by SWA and on the project status. SWA represents the first suite of coordinated in situ measurements made inside 1 AU, which consists of three different sensors sampling ions and electrons, served by a common DPU. SWA will include, for the first time at those heliocentric distances, mass composition as well as high resolution 3-D velocity distributions thus allowing to greatly advance our understanding on basic physical phenomena of plasma physics like heating and acceleration.