NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory arrives at Kennedy Space Center

Jul 10, 2009
SDO arrives at Astrotech Space Operations, located near Kennedy Space Center. Credit: NASA

NASA's upcoming mission to study the sun in unprecedented detail and its effects on Earth, the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), arrived at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla. on July 9.

The spacecraft left NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., on July 7, where it was built and tested.

SDO will undergo final testing at Astrotech Space Operations, located near , in preparation for its anticipated November launch. The SDO team will conduct of series of tests to be sure that the observatory arrived in good condition, as it is being readied for launch.

After the final tests are completed, SDO will move to launch complex 41 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket will launch the solar-studying spacecraft into orbit.

SDO will take measurements and images of the sun in multiple wavelengths for at least five years during its primary science mission. The spacecraft will collect a staggering 1.5 terabytes of data daily, the equivalent of downloading a half million songs a day.

Space weather results from changes on the sun, called solar activity. Active regions on the sun can erupt suddenly and violently, usually in the form of a solar flare or coronal mass ejection (CME).

Flares and CMEs can send millions of tons of solar material and charged particles streaming toward Earth on the solar wind. When the star stuff reaches Earth's atmosphere, it can damage orbiting satellites and wreak havoc on navigation systems and the power grid. Understanding space weather requires knowing the nature of changes that happen in the .

SDO is the first space weather research network mission in NASA's Living With a Star Program. The spacecraft's long-term measurements will give solar scientists in-depth information about changes in the sun's magnetic field and insight into how those changes affect Earth.

Source: NASA/Goddard Flight Center

Explore further: Computer model shows moon's core surrounded by liquid and it's caused by Earth's gravity

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Halloween Storms of 2003 Still the Scariest

Oct 29, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- By the eerie light of a Halloween moon, while a chilly wind blows autumn-dry leaves askitter on bare and fingered branches, scary things can happen. Blood-sucking bats, creepy-crawly spiders, ...

Satellites Will Improve Understanding of the Sun

Aug 17, 2006

NASA's Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory mission will dramatically improve understanding of the powerful solar eruptions that can send more than a billion tons of the sun's outer atmosphere hurtling into ...

Coming soon: 3D views of the sun

Nov 10, 2005

The first spacecraft designed to record "stereo" views of the sun and solar wind are at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland for pre-launch testing.

Recommended for you

Titan offers clues to atmospheres of hazy planets

22 hours ago

When hazy planets pass across the face of their star, a curious thing happens. Astronomers are not able to see any changes in the range of light coming from the star and planet system.

Having fun with the equation of time

22 hours ago

If you're like us, you might've looked at a globe of the Earth in elementary school long before the days of Google Earth and wondered just what that strange looking figure eight thing on its side was.

The source of the sky's X-ray glow

Jul 27, 2014

In findings that help astrophysicists understand our corner of the galaxy, an international research team has shown that the soft X-ray glow blanketing the sky comes from both inside and outside the solar system.

User comments : 0