Nasa has encapsulated the solar dynamics observatory (SDO) satellite in its two-piece payload fairing in preparation for launch.

The SDO is a sun-pointing 3,100kg spacecraft that nearly continually observes the sun to study solar activity and its impact on space weather.

The satellite will also measure the interior of the sun, its magnetic field, hot plasma of the solar corona and the irradiance that creates the ionospheres of the planets.

The spacecraft will be fitted with three scientific experiments – an atmospheric imaging assembly, EUV variability experimentation equipment, and the helioseismic and magnetic imager.

The satellite is scheduled for lift-off on 9 February 2010.