NASA Launches Spacecraft To Study the Sun

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NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) was launched Feb. 11 on a five-year mission to study the inner workings of the sun.

SDO lifted off at 10:23 a.m. EST atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. A first launch attempt the day before was stymied by strong winds.

The $850 million mission will take the most detailed, comprehensive measurements yet of the sun — with 10 times better resolution than high-definition television — using three state-of-the-art instruments on board.

The spacecraft will undergo about two months of calibration and testing before it begins science operations.