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The SDO (Solar Dynamics Observatory) solar observing satellite will be a follow up to SOHO. SDO has four main goals:

  • Research on the Solar Cycle.
  • Identify the role of the magnetic field in delivering energy to the solar atmosphere and its many layers.
  • Study how the outer regions of the Sun's atmosphere evolve over time - ranging from seconds to centuries - and space.
  • Monitor the radiation (ex: UV, EUV, etc.) levels of solar output.

SDO will contain a suite of instruments which will provide the observations that will lead to a more complete understanding of the solar dynamics that drive variability in the Earth's environment. Following instruments are mounted on the spacecraft:

  • HMI (Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager):
    The Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager will extend the capabilities of the SOHO/MDI instrument with continuous full-disk coverage at considerably higher spatial and temporal resolution line-of-sight magnetograms with the optional channel for full Stokes polarization measurements and hence vector magnetogram determination.
  • AIA (Atmospheric Imaging Assembly):
    The Atmospheric Imaging Assembly will image the solar atmosphere in multiple wavelengths to link changes to surface and interior changes.
  • EVE (Extreme Ultraviolet Variablity Experiment):
    The Extreme Ultraviolet Variablity Experiment will measure the solar Extreme-Ultraviolet (EUV) irradiance with unprecedented spectral resolution, temporal cadence, and precision.

The large data outtput (> 1 TByte/day) dictated the use of a geostationary orbit for continuous data downlink via a Ka-band transponder.

Nation: USA
Type / Application: Solar Observatory
Operator: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Contractors: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Equipment: HMI, AIA, EVE
Propulsion: R-4D
Power: 2 deployable fixed solar arrays, batteries
Lifetime: 5 years (design); 10 years (fuel)
Mass: 3100 kg
Orbit: inclined GEO
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
SDO 2010-005A 11.02.2010 CC SLC-41 Atlas-5(401)
Further LWS (Living with a Star) missions:

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