Headlines > News > Solar Dynamics Observatory Set to Launch Today

Solar Dynamics Observatory Set to Launch Today

Published by Matt on Wed Feb 10, 2010 2:12 pm via: NASA
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The Solar Dynamics Observatory stands poised for space this morning as the launch team at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station counts down to a 10:26 a.m. EST liftoff. NASA’s Launch Services Program is managing today’s Atlas V launch from the Launch Pad 41 at the Cape. The launch window for today extends one hour, to 11:26 a.m. EST.

At Launch Complex 41 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, preparations are under way to begin the countdown to launch of the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket which will deploy NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. Credit: NASA/Jack Pfaller

At Launch Complex 41 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, preparations are under way to begin the countdown to launch of the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket which will deploy NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. Credit: NASA/Jack Pfaller

Weather forecasters are watching for high winds this morning at the launch site and the forecast puts odds of acceptable conditions for launch at 30 percent.

The SDO spacecraft is headed to an orbit about 22,300 miles above Earth. From that altitude, the spacecraft will point its instruments at the sun and relay the readings instantly to a ground station in New Mexico. The research is expected to reveal the sun’s inner workings by constantly taking high resolution images of the sun, collecting readings from inside the sun and measuring its magnetic field activity. This data is expected to give researchers the insight they need to eventually predict solar storms and other activity on the sun that can affect spacecraft in orbit, astronauts on the International Space Station and electronic and other systems on Earth.

Live coverage of the launch is available on NASA TV

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