Thursday, April 1, 2010

SDO Day 50: The Wheels on the Spacecraft Bus Go Round and Round

Today SDO worked to understand how the reaction wheels that provide our fine pointing control interact with the spacecraft. SDO needs to point at the Sun very accurately while taking an image every 0.75 seconds (which means rotating shutters and filters), rotating the high-gain antennas to keep them pointed toward New Mexico, and rotate the entire observatory once per orbit to keep it pointed at the Sun. Understanding how the reaction wheels work is a essential step toward getting ready to send out the "firehose" of data SDO will generate.