- Parker Solar Probe
- 466,592 kilometre(s) per hour
- Not Applicable ()
At 9:16 a.m. UTC on 27 September 2020, the Parker Solar Probe reached the perihelion of its sixth orbit having accelerated to a speed of 466,592 km/h (289,927 mph) relative to the sun.
The term "perihelion" describes the point in an orbit when an object is closest to the body it is orbiting (the opposite, distant point is called the "aphelion"). Until perihelion, the orbiting object is being pulled "deeper" into its parent body's gravity well, accelerating as it closes in. After perihelion, it is "rising" out of the gravity well, losing speed as it moves away.
This record will stand until Parker's next perihelion, in January 2021, and won't change substantially until after Feb 2021, when Parker is due to use a second gravity assist from Venus to further tighten its orbit. The probe is set to use a series of Venus flybys over the next 6 years to gradually get ever faster and closer to the sun.