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The Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) includes three advanced instruments, massive science data volume, stringent science data completeness requirements, and a custom ground station to meet mission demands. The strict instrument science requirements imposed a number of challenging drivers on the overall mission system design, leading the SDO team to adopt an integrated systems engineering presence across all aspects of the mission to ensure that mission science requirements would be met. Key strategies were devised to address these system level drivers and mitigate identified threats to mission success. The global systems engineering team approach ensured that key drivers and risk areas were rigorously addressed through all phases of the mission, leading to the successful SDO launch and on-orbit operation. Since launch, SDO's on-orbit performance has met all mission science requirements and enabled groundbreaking science observations, expanding our understanding of the Sun and its dynamic processes.