SDO is NASA's first space weather research network mission in the Living With a Star programme. The spacecraft's long-term measurements will give solar scientists in-depth information about how and why changes in the sun's magnetic field occur.
SDO is designed to study solar atmospheric structures and magnetic fields from their emergence at the surface into the corona, using a set of imaging systems in the UV, and extreme-UV and visible light, including magnetic mapping using the Zeeman effect. Launched on 11th February 2010 into a geosynchronous orbit; its emphasis is on high resolution imaging results in a data rate of 140Mbps.
RAL Space has provided the Lockheed Martin Solar and Astrophysics Laboratory with the CCD camera electronics systems for two of the three scientific instruments on SDO.
In addition, RAL Space has a scientific interest through a co-investigator role for the mission and is heavily involved in receipt of high data-rate data, automated analysis and storage of data for UK scientists.
SDO: Three Years of Sun in Three Minutes