Blast off on Feb 11 of mighty Atlas V rocket and SDO from Pad 41 at Cape Canaveral as viewed from the KSC press site. Credit: Ken Kremer

SDO On Station Transmitting First Data as Solar Science Payloads Open Today

Article Updated: 24 Dec , 2015

by

Video Caption: EVE rediscovered the Van Allen Radiation Belt. These EVE data highlight where the energetic protons are in the inner Van Allen radiation belt. The red dots indicate the highest concentration of protons (lower altitude), and the blue-violet dots represents very little detection of particles (higher altitude of GEO). Visualization by Chris Jeppesen.

Following several precise propulsion burns to circularize its orbit, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) has arrived “On Station” and multiple tasks critical to check out of the science instruments are in progress this week, according to Dean Pesnell. Pesnell is the SDO project scientist from NASA’s Goddard Spaceflight Center which built the spacecraft and manages the nearly $1 Billion mission for NASA.

“We reached our final orbit on March 16, 2010”, Pesnell told me in an interview. “The SDO spacecraft is working great and all systems are behaving as expected”. SDO was launched on Feb. 11, 2010 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station aboard an Atlas V rocket.

[/caption]
The revolutionary science mission has been dubbed the “crown jewel” of NASA’s Solar Exploration research fleet, joining the twin STEREO spacecraft and SOHO. SDO is equipped with three science instruments (HMI, AIA, and EVE) to explore the Sun and its complex interior mechanisms in unprecedented detail.

Although the doors to the solar science payload will be opened starting just today (March 24), SDO has already managed to transmit its “first data”, Pesnell explained. This bonus science data from Earth’s radiation belt was unexpected he said. The first solar light data will come after the science instruments are fully activated.

SDO Instruments

“One detector in EVE was responding to the protons in the inner Van Allen radiation belt. We spent several orbits going through that part of space and EVE was able to produce a map of the radiation belt,” said Pesnell.

“The amount of proton data was not expected as we were not supposed to spend as much time in the belts as we did. By spending a few extra days in the inner belt the MEGS-P radiometer was able to measure a more complete picture of the radiation belt. It may be the only measurement of the proton fluxes in the inner radiation belt during the extremely low solar activity of the current solar minimum,” added Pesnell.

Check out of the science payload is moving ahead swiftly as planned. “The SDO instruments are working through their initial steps to turning them completely on”, Pesnell explained. A key activity was to “bake out” the instruments to remove any remaining harmful contaminants that could threaten to degrade the quality of the science data.

“CCD decontamination heaters had been turned on for several weeks to allow the instruments to outgas any residual contamination”, according to Pesnell. “During the first 40 days of the mission the instruments kept their CCDs hot with heaters. This prevents water vapor from condensing onto the surfaces of the CCDs while forcing water vapor out of the interior of the instruments. Two instruments, HMI and EVE, have turned off their decontamination heaters while AIA will turn them off next week. Those heaters are being turned off to allow the CCD’s to cool to their normal operating temperatures of about minus 100 C”.

“HMI will open their payload door Wednesday and begin checking out the instrument. EVE is cooling their CCDs getting ready to open their doors on Thursday. AIA will open their doors on Saturday”.

Pesnell mentioned that the SDO team expects to show off the initial data at a telecom in mid-April. “The science data should start to flow in early May, fully calibrated data will show up later. We will discuss the data at the SPD/AAS meeting in Miami, FL at the end of May”.

Van Allen Radiation Belts

SDO will collect a staggering 1.5 terabytes of data per day, equivalent to 380 full length movies per day on a 24/7 basis. “The data will be continuously beamed back to newly built receivers on Earth. We have no onboard recorders since nothing is available to handle such a huge data volume,” said Pesnell. “SDO will transmit 50 times more science data than any other mission in NASA history”.

Test data have already been transmitted via the spacecraft antenna to the receiving station on the ground in New Mexico, confirming that the vital communications systems are operating perfectly.

SDO’s measurements of the Sun’s interior, magnetic field and hot plasma of the solar corona will allow scientists to determine how violent solar events are created which then cause ‘space weather’ that ultimately affects every aspect of life here on Earth. The goal is create better predictions of ‘space weather’ in order to provide early warning to valuable satellites and astronauts operating in space, and to prevent disruption to navigation systems and failures in the power grid.

Rocket firing to raise SDO to its final orbit on March 16, 2010. click to enlarge

SDO was launched into a geosynchronous transfer orbit with an apogee altitude (farthest point from Earth) of 36,000 km (22,000 miles) and a perigee altitude (closest point to Earth) of 2500 km (1600 miles). Over the next 34 days the propulsion module was used to raise the perigee altitude to 36,000 km, with a few small burns to push both apogee and perigee to geosynchronous.

“SDO is in an inclined geosynchronous orbit at the longitude of New Mexico. The inclination of 28 degrees is the natural orbit when launched from Kennedy Space Center. Changing the inclination of an orbit requires a lot of fuel, so this orbit was less expensive than a geostationary orbit,” said Pesnell. This orbit will keep the observatory in constant view of the two newly constructed 18-meter dishes around the clock so that not a single bit of data should be lost.

Nancy Atkinson and Ken Kremer covered the Feb 11, 2010 SDO launch on site at KSC for Universe Today

Read SDO launch report by Nancy Atkinson here.

Read earlier SDO reports by Ken Kremer below, including from on site at the Atlas launch pad

NASA Sun Probe rolled to Pad; 10 hours to Blast off

NASA’s Solar Crown Jewel Bolted atop Atlas Rocket

NASA advanced Solar Observatory nearing February launch; will send IMAX like movies daily

Learn more at the NASA SDO Website

SDO soars to space from the Kennedy Space Center atop Atlas V rocket on Feb 11, 2010 as I observed from the KSC Press Site. Credit: Ken Kremer

Artist's concept of the Solar Dynamics Observatory in Orbit


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
Member
The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
March 24, 2010 4:12 AM

The artist’s “concept of the Solar Dynamics Observatory in orbit “is a real worry. Is it going to observe the Sun or is it aiming weapons at the sun to exterminate it?

(Just hope it isn’t an EU/PC plot to stop nucleosythesis that they predict occurs across the surface of the Sun by electricity.)

Jean Tate
Member
March 24, 2010 6:15 AM

iantresman,

Nuclear reactions certainly occur outside the Sun’s core; they occur in the Earth’s atmosphere (that’s how the carbon-14 that carbon dating is based on is produced), for example.

However, nuclear reactions outside the Sun’s core produce, or consume, utterly trivial amounts of energy compared with those in the core.

Can you say a few words on how you expect data from the Magnetic Imager could be used to quantify electric currents? Also, what relevance does the existence of electric currents in the solar corona have to any astrophysically interesting nucleosynthesis processes?

ND
Member
ND
March 24, 2010 6:27 AM

I’d also like to hear from iantresman what sort of missions and researchs he would like to see done to investigate the hypothesis in EU/PC.

The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
Member
The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
March 24, 2010 6:38 AM
Hold on boy… You might like to see what others of your brethren the EU/PC variety might say. Let’s see. How about the Thunderbolts.Info Site, where on the page “The “Iron Sun” Debate (1) Nuclear Reactions at the Solar Surface”, your own name is listed as “contributing Editor” . Now let us see; This article says; “..finds compelling evidence that nuclear reactions occur at the foot points of solar flares—hot spots associated with prominent magnetic loops and intense electric fields. This observation places the nuclear reactions far from where conventional theorists locate them–at the Sun’s core.” Ergo, by direct evidence suggest your statement suggest you believe that “nucleosynthesis occurs in solar flares.” Again your hidden agenda (again) is… Read more »
The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
Member
The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
March 24, 2010 7:01 AM
Jean Tate Says: @ at all… Jean said; “iantresman, Nuclear reactions certainly occur outside the Sun’s core; they occur in the Earth’s atmosphere (that’s how the carbon-14 that carbon dating is based on is produced), for example. However, nuclear reactions outside the Sun’s core produce, or consume, utterly trivial amounts of energy compared with those in the core. Can you say a few words on how you expect data from the Magnetic Imager could be used to quantify electric currents? Also, what relevance does the existence of electric currents in the solar corona have to any astrophysically interesting nucleosynthesis processes? Thanks, but there is one grand hole in iantresman argument. Neutrinos!!! If they come from flares, then Sun… Read more »
The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
Member
The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
March 24, 2010 7:08 AM

iantresman said at @ND

“This is probably not the place to discuss speculative theories, but I am happy to see what the SDO reveals, and take it from there.”

Absolute excellent answer and vague response, and one I would not have said it better myself!

I give you not speculation but actual observational evidence!

Ergo “electric universe” models are observationally wrong – and proven from actual observation.

Adios, Amico!

The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
Member
The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
March 24, 2010 7:10 AM

Come in and greet me, said the spider to the fly!

Thanks ND!!!

The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
Member
The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
March 24, 2010 7:58 AM

lantresman said;

“If you wish to discuss speculative theories and neutrinos,”

“Speculative theories”, eh?

Is that not is a broad assumption, here. Rhetoric here is clearly not your strong suit, is it!

Focus very carefully, please, and without the usual philosophical mumbo-jumbo and asinine arguments .

Very, very, simple question.

Do actual observed neutrinos come from the centre of the sun or from flares on the solar surface?

The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
Member
The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
March 24, 2010 8:25 AM

You have said in this thread; “I am not responsible for the ideas of others,”

So, firstly, what is YOUR view(s)?

Secondly; Do you now deny true association with the site Thunderbolts.Info and the views already linked article “The “Iron Sun” Debate? (1) ? Your own name is on it!

Yea or Nay?

So is this said “idea” here also your view (now or then)?

The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
Member
The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
March 24, 2010 8:32 AM

lantresman said;

“@Jean, of course nuclear reactions occur outside the Sun’s core, and of course they consume/produce small amounts of energy, no dispute. I never claimed otherwise.”

Evidence given here in these general comments says this is clearly not true.

Could you please kindly explain otherwise…

Olaf
Member
Olaf
March 24, 2010 8:45 AM

@iantresman
“Universe Today is not the place to discuss our own personal views.”

Actually it is very interesting to hear what your views are. So far you are running in circles to avoid the questions.

So it is interesting to hear from you how exactly EVE can show that EU-like theories is right and how EVE would show that EU-like therories are plain wrong. What should ahppen what should be detected and what should not be detected?

Olaf
Member
Olaf
March 24, 2010 8:49 AM

@iantresman

You are actually pushing your views indirectly onto other pople here throught your link which is clearly EU.

The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
Member
The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
March 24, 2010 8:51 AM

lantresman said;

“You continually bring it up EU, which I described as “speculative”.”

It was the electrical theorists who first suggested that surface events, not a hidden nuclear furnace at the Sun’s center, appear to be the source of neutrino production (the subatomic signature of nuclear fusion).

It can’t be both, can it?

Yet, contrary to this evidence already here, and to quote from your own (or associate) words – which you generally and divisively call “Magnetic Confinement fusion” (you exact words, mind you) .

So either what you say is either;

1) Your contradict your own beliefs and statements; or

2) What you are state here is actually not true?

(No bullies here, just openly questioning your already own associated words!)

The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
Member
The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
March 24, 2010 8:59 AM

Without the usual diversions, please; Very, very, simple question.

Do actual observed neutrinos come from the centre of the sun or from flares on the solar surface?

Yes or no?

The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
Member
The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
March 24, 2010 9:01 AM

Without the usual diversions, please;

Do you now deny true association with the site Thunderbolts.Info and the views already linked article “The “Iron Sun” Debate? (1) ?</B

Your own name is on it!

Yea or Nay?

The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
Member
The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
March 24, 2010 9:16 AM

@ lantresman

Some reverse question, then

Does nucleosythesis and solar neutrinos only occur is the solar core?

Yes or no.

Does nucleosythesis and solar neutrinos only occur is the solar core and solar flares?

Yes or no.

The sun only generates its energy through solar fusion?

Yes or no.

I’d like your opinion, please.

(My own answer is; Yes, No, and Yes,)

ND
Member
ND
March 24, 2010 9:17 AM

iantresman Says:
“@ND
This is probably not the place to discuss speculative theories,…”

Does this mean you’ll stop talking about EU/PC?

Olaf
Member
Olaf
March 24, 2010 9:24 AM

@iantresman

“Dammed if I do, dammed if I don’t. My link is to my website, which was provided as an option during sign-up. It is not EU, and does not promote “my” theory, though obviously the content may share common ideas with other theories.”

OK I am confused now.
You are promoting your site but it is not your theorie?
You are promoting something you do not believe in?

And what is the difference between PC and EU?
Why don’t you like EU? What makes PC better than EU?

The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
Member
The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
March 24, 2010 10:04 AM
lantresman said; “if I do, dammed if I don’t. My link is to my website, which was provided as an option during sign-up. It is not EU, and does not promote “my” theory, though obviously the content may share common ideas with other theories.” Pretty emotive, You sate your opinions, force it down everyone’s throat, then plead the 5th… You have been proven to show that you favour “Electric Universe”, “as advertised” across multiple forums, then you avoid association from it by either describing it as some “personal theory” or as “common ideas with other theories.” From this we can only conclude what you say is needless rhetoric or deliberate deception. Historically an Electric Universe proponent (or its… Read more »
The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
Member
The Eclectic Exterminator of Stupid Electricians
March 24, 2010 10:21 AM
The quote you avoid; “It was the electrical theorists who first suggested that surface events, not a hidden nuclear furnace at the Sun’s center, appear to be the source of neutrino production (the subatomic signature of nuclear fusion).” This come from The “Iron Sun” Debate (1) Nuclear Reactions at the Solar Surface, as do most of my quotes here. The attribultion of the article states; EXECUTIVE EDITORS: David Talbott, Wallace Thornhill MANAGING EDITOR: Michael Armstrong CONTRIBUTING EDITORS: Dwardu Cardona, Ev Cochrane, C.J. Ransom, Don Scott, Rens van der Sluijs,Ian Tresman WEBMASTER: Michael Armstrong If that is not you then say so, otherwise you are associated with the views and statements. As to “This is all very unfair to… Read more »
wpDiscuz