Goddard Space Flight Center Site Index
Solar Dynamics Observatory Gallery


One of the signs explaining the Solar Dynamics Observatory. It reads

SDO: Solar Dynamics Observatory

The Solar Dynamics Observatory, the first mission to be launched for NASA's Living with a Star program, is designed to understand the causes of solar variability and its impacts on earth.

SDO will help us better understand the sun's influence on earth and near-earth space by studying the solar atmosphere on small scales of space and time in many wavelengths simultaneously.

SDO's goal it to understand, driving towards a predictive capability, the solar variations that influence life on Earth and humanity's technological systems by determining:

  • How the Sun's magnetic field is generated and structured
  • How this stored magnetic energy is converted and released into the heliosphere and geospace in the form of solar wind, energetic particles, and variations in the solar irradiance.
  • Launch - 2008 [heroicrelics: it was actually launched February 11, 2010]

  • Inclined geosynchronous orbit
  • Dedicated ground station
  • Mass of the spacecraft at launch is 3,200 kg (payload is 270 kg; fuel is 1,400 kg)
  • Span of the extended solar panels is 6.25 m
  • Overall length along the sun-pointing axis is 4.5 m, and each side is 2.22 m
  • Continuous 150 Mbps Ka-Band downlink

SDO Hardware from the United Kingdom

  • E2V Technologies: AIA and HMI CCDs
  • ABSL Power Solutions Ltd. (ABSL): Qualification and Flight Lithium Ion Batteries
  • Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL): Camera Electronics
  • Marotta UK Limited: Propulsion Module Fill and Drain Valves

In the upper left of the picture is the telescope mount flight article in early stages of construction.

Time picture taken Wed Jun 27 14:58:16 2007
Location picture taken Various Working Areas
Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, MD
Prev Solar Dynamics Observatory Gallery Next