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NASA successfully launches a new eye on the sun

Date:
February 11, 2010
Source:
NASA
Summary:
NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, has lifted off on a first-of-a-kind mission to reveal the sun's inner workings in unprecedented detail. The most technologically advanced of NASA's heliophysics spacecraft, SDO will take images of the sun every 0.75 seconds and daily send back about 1.5 terabytes of data to Earth -- the equivalent of streaming 380 full-length movies.

A graphic shows the Solar Dynamic Observatory separating from the Centaur upper stage that propelled the spacecraft into orbit. Telemetry from the spacecraft and rocket showed a flawless beginning for the mission to study the sun in detail.
Credit: NASA TV

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, lifted off Feb. 11 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Launch Complex 41 on a first-of-a-kind mission to reveal the sun's inner workings in unprecedented detail.

The launch aboard an Atlas V rocket occurred at 10:23 a.m. EST.

The most technologically advanced of NASA's heliophysics spacecraft, SDO will take images of the sun every 0.75 seconds and daily send back about 1.5 terabytes of data to Earth -- the equivalent of streaming 380 full-length movies.

"This is going to be sensational," said Richard R. Fisher, director of the Heliophysics Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "SDO is going to make a huge step forward in our understanding of the sun and its effects on life and society."

The sun's dynamic processes affect everyone and everything on Earth. SDO will explore activity on the sun that can disable satellites, cause power grid failures, and disrupt GPS communications. SDO also will provide a better understanding of the role the sun plays in Earth's atmospheric chemistry and climate.

SDO is the crown jewel in a fleet of NASA missions to study our sun. The mission is the cornerstone of a NASA science program called Living With A Star. This program will provide new understanding and information concerning the sun and solar system that directly affect Earth, its inhabitants and technology.

The SDO project is managed at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. NASA's Launch Services Program at Kennedy Space Center managed the payload integration and launch.

For launch coverage, briefing materials, and multimedia, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/sdo/news/briefing-materials-20100209.html

For more information about the SDO mission, visit: http://sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov and http://www.nasa.gov/sdo


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA. "NASA successfully launches a new eye on the sun." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 February 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100211152456.htm>.
NASA. (2010, February 11). NASA successfully launches a new eye on the sun. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100211152456.htm
NASA. "NASA successfully launches a new eye on the sun." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100211152456.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

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