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PALO ALTO , Calif., July 12 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The Solar X-ray Imager (SXI) instrument, designed and built by Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) at its Space Systems Advanced Technology Center (ATC) has produced its first image. The remarkable view of the Sun, as seen in soft x-rays, is available online at: http://www.sec.noaa.gov/sxi/index.html .
Built for the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) in Greenbelt, Md., SXI was launched on May 24 on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) GOES-N spacecraft from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. GOES-N was renamed GOES 13 when it successfully reached its proper orbit. SXI is one of a suite of instruments that resides on the current generation of Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES).
"The first image is magnificent! There is enormous satisfaction in seeing that our years of effort have borne fruit," said Mons Morrison, SXI program manager at the ATC. "While the other GOES instruments provide near-constant viewing of the Earth, SXI will watch the Sun and provide vital information regarding solar activity."
"Once it is fully operational, the SXI will capture sharp, detailed solar images for immediate use by space weather forecasters and also provide critical data for new numerical prediction models under development," said TomBogdan , director of NOAA's Space Environment Center (SEC) in Boulder, Colo. "By testing and calibrating the SXI in advance, we avoid a lapse in solar coverage during the transition from GOES 12 to GOES 13," he added.
The SXI will aid NOAA and U.S. Air Force personnel in issuing forecasts and alerts of "space weather" conditions, and in developing a better understanding of Sun-related phenomena that affect the Earth's environment.