The Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) is a NASA mission which will observe the Sun for over five years.[Launched on February 11, 2010, the observatory is part of the Living With a Star (LWS) program. The goal of the LWS program is to develop the scientific understanding necessary to effectively address those aspects of the connected Sun--Earth system that directly affect life and society. SDO's goal is to understand the Sun's influence on Earth and near-Earth space by studying the solar atmosphere on small scales of space and time and in many wavelengths simultaneously. SDO will investigate how the Sun's magnetic field is generated and structured, how this stored magnetic energy is converted and released into the heliosphere and geospace in the form of solar wind, energetic particles, and variations in the solar irradiance.