Solar Orbiter is a three-axis stabilized spacecraft designed to monitor through remote sensing and in situ measurements the state of the solar corona and the inner heliosphere. Its orbit is characterized by periods of close approach to the Sun (perihelion of about 0.22 AU) with near corotation, and into a later phase of the mission, an excursion out of the plane of the ecliptic up to 32 degrees. This will provide us the first-ever-seen images of the sun's poles from such a vantage point.
The foreseen payload with a short explanation of the purpose of each instrument is given below.

The spacecraft is equipped with remote sensing and in situ instruments for an out-of-ecliptic detection. The wide coverage of the insitu mesurements (eventually in combination with SPP) and the proximity of the remote sensing measurements (which provide the context to interpret the insitu data as well) are one the most innovative features of the mission which, for the first time, will allow to:

The main objectives of the SO mission can be summarized in the following scientific questions:

More informations about the SO mission can be found at the ESA Solar Orbiter Homepage

List of Solar Orbiter Instruments (more ...)

Remote-sensing instruments Purpose & science objectives
Visible light Imager and Magnetograph
Measure the magnetic and velocity fields in the photosphere
Analysis of subphotospheric flows, vector magnetograms
EUV Spectrometer
Provide coronal plasma diagnostic throughout a wide range
of temperatures and densities
EUV Imager
Provide very high spatial resolution of the solar corona to investigate the fundamental size of its structures
Provide full sun images of the corona at unique location (poles) and give contextual analysis for other remote and in situ instruments
Investigate origin of slow solar wind in streamers
Determine the large-scale geometry of the corona from out-of-ecliptic plane
Study the F-corona
Spectrometer Telescope for imaging X-rays
Study the energetics and timing of energetic electron events
Provide localization and morphology of solar sources
Make joint observations with Sentinel similar instruments for Xray emission directivity
Heliospheric Imager/Wild Field Coronograph To extend coronagraph observation range and provide heliospheric context images for Orbiter and Sentinels

Remote-sensing payload onboard Solar Orbiter [adapted from ESA Solar_Orbiter_PDDv6]

In situ instruments Purpose & science objectives
Solar Wind plasma Analyzer
Measurements and constrains on kinetic plasma properties
Investigate solar wind acceleration process in the inner corona
Correlation with remote-sensing observations of stream elements
Radio and Plasma Wave Analyzer
Measurement of electric and magnetic fields
Measurement of electrostatic waves near the spacecraft
Remote-sensing radio observations of energetic phenomena
Vector measurement of the solar wind magnetic field
Energetic Particle Detector
Measurement of properties and origin of SEP events (generation, release, propagation)
Correlation of SEP properties with remote-sensing obervations of solar events
Investigate, close to the Sun, the properties of gradual and impulsive SEPs
Characterize pick-up particles properties created by interaction of the solar wind and interplanetary dust
Dust Particle Detector
Measurement of in situ properties (distribution, mass, dynamics) of dust particles in the inner heliosphere

In situ payload onboard Solar Orbiter [adapted from ESA Solar_Orbiter_PDDv6]