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Atlas launches SDO
Posted: Fri, Feb 12, 2010, 8:02 AM ET (1302 GMT)
Atlas 5 launch of SDO (NASA/KSC) An Atlas 5 successfully launched NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) spacecraft on Thursday. The Atlas 5 401 rocket lifted off at 10:23 am EST (1523 GMT) and placed SDO into geosynchronous transfer orbit. SDO will operate in an inclined geosynchronous orbit, performing continuous observations of the Sun and downlinking data to dedicated antennas in New Mexico. The high-resolution data collected by SDO is designed to help scientists understand solar activity and its effect on the Earth, particularly as the Sun enters the active phase of its 11-year activity cycle. The launch had been scheduled for Wednesday but was postponed because of high winds.
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