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The main objective of the Orbiting Solar Laboratory (OSL) is to acquire images of the solar surface with the high spatial resolution required for the determination of density, temperature, magnetic field, and non-thermal velocity field in solar features on the scale at which many basic physical processes occur -- less than 0.2 arcsec. In addition, high-resolution spectroscopy is performed. OSL consists of five instruments. The main telescope uses an f/24 on-axis Gregorian configuration with primary mirror 1.1 m in diameter, useful throughout the 220 - 1000 nm range and providing a 3.9 arcmin field of view with 0.15 arcsec resolution. Three instruments make up the Coordinated Instrument Package (CIP) and share the focal plane at the Gregorian focus. These instruments obtain narrow-band and broad-band filtergrams as well as high-resolution spectrograms. Charge-coupled Device (CCD) cameras are employed in each instrument in the CIP while the remaining instrument packages use self-contained telescopes and acquire high-resolution UV spectra and XUV and X-ray images. A finder telescope provides a continuous full-Sun image for reference by users of the other, limited field-of-view instruments. The OSL spacecraft is three-axis stabilized, with pointing accuracy of 9 arcsec in pitch/yaw and 30 arcmin in roll; image motion compensation is carried out within the individual instruments to achieve better than 0.2 arcsec stability. A polar, Sun-synchronous orbit is used to achieve more than 250 full-Sun days per year. Solar arrays provide power. The Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS) contact provides 2E7 bit/s telemetry for eight hours/day on average. The mission is planned for three years or longer and mission operations are to include near-realtime targeting during TDRSS contacts. Further information may be obtained through D. F. Spicer (NASA-GSFC), Project Scientist.

Alternate Names

  • Orbiting Solar Lab

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 1996-01-01
Launch Vehicle: Delta II
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral, United States
Mass: 3364 kg

Funding Agencies

  • NASA-Office of Space Science (United States)
  • NASA-Office of Space Science Applications (United States)


  • Solar Physics

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this spacecraft can be directed to: Dr. H. Kent Hills



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Mr. Roger A. MattsonProject ManagerNASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Dr. Daniel S. SpicerProject ScientistNASA Goddard Space Flight
Dr. J. David BohlinProgram ScientistNASA Headquarters
Ms. Maureen C. LockeProject ManagerNASA
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