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Solar Dynamics Observatory


Designation 36395 / 10005A
Launch date 11 Feb 2010
Country of origin United States
Mission Scientific: Sun study
Geostationary orbit 102°W, highly inclined 28°
Launch vehicle Atlas 5 #20

First mission in NASA's Living With a Star (LWS) program. Initially planned for launch in early 2009.

SDO will help understand how the Sun's magnetic field is generated and structured and how this magnetic energy is converted into solar wind and energetic particles.

External resources


Technical data


Prime contractor Lockheed Martin
Mass at launch 3100 kg
Dry mass 1650 kg
Dimension 2.2 x 2.2 x 4.5 m
Solar array  
Stabilization 3-axis
DC power 1450 W
Design lifetime  

Downlink in Ka-band at 130 Mbps (continuous)


HMI (Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager)
Will extend the capabilities of the SOHO/MDI instrument with continuous full-disk coverage at higher spatial resolution. Provided by Stanford University. Will study the origin of solar variability and attempt to characterise and understand the Sun's interior and magnetic activity.

AIA (Atmospheric Imaging Assembly)
Will image the solar atmosphere in multiple wavelengths to link changes in the surface to interior changes. Data will include images of the Sun in 10 wavelengths every 10 seconds. Provided by Lockheed Martin Solar Astrophysics Laboratory. Composed of 4 telescopes.

EVE (Extreme Ultraviolet Variablity Experiment)
Will measure the solar extreme-ultraviolet (EUV) irradiance with unprecedented spectral resolution, temporal cadence, and precision. Measures the solar extreme ultraviolet (EUV, ranges in wavelength from 0.1 to 105 nm) spectral irradiance to understand variations on the timescales which influence Earth's climate and near-Earth space. Provided by University of Colorado.

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