21 Sep 2009



NASA’s dedicated observatory for the study of solar flares using a battery of international instruments observing the Sun in visible, ultraviolet, X-ray and gamma-ray wavelengths.

Artists impression of the Solar Maximum Mission satellite


Credit: NASA

The Solar Maxmimum Mission (SMM) was operated from Earth orbit with daily operations planning from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center by the instrument teams.

RAL Space Involvement
Development and operation of the X-ray Polychromator (XRP; RAL Principal Investigator), an X-ray instrument for the study and analysis of hot solar flare plasmas.

Solar Physics

Main Objectives
To study solar magnetic fields associated with the flare phenomenon

Launch Date
14 February 1980

Mullard Space Science Laboratory, UK;  Lockheed Martin Palo Alto USA

Further Project Information 
NASA (link opens in a new window)

For more information please contact: RAL Space Enquiries