The 4th generation GOES-R weather satellite was successfully launched from Florida’s space coast yesterday evening. A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite R-series (GOES-R) for National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) lifted off from Space Launch Complex-41 Nov. 19 at 6:42 p.m. EST. The Atlas V launched the GOES-R spacecraft to geosynchronous transfer orbit.
This revolutionary new GOES-R will produce images of weather patterns and severe storms as frequently as every 30 seconds and provide scientists with never-before-scene lightning mapping from space. With dozens of new products available from the satellite, the world of meteorology will be able to take a giant leap into the future of severe storm warning and improved forecast accuracy.
“The next generation of weather satellites is finally here. GOES-R is one of the most sophisticated Earth-observing platforms ever devised,” said NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan, Ph.D. “GOES-R’s instruments will be capable of scanning the planet five times faster and with four times more resolution than any other satellite in our fleet. With these new instruments and powerful new capabilities, GOES-R will strengthen NOAA’s ability to issue life-saving forecasts and warnings and make the United States an even stronger, more resilient Weather-Ready Nation.”
This is ULA’s 10th launch in 2016 and the 113th successful launch since the company was formed in December 2006.
“We are honored that NASA and NOAA have entrusted ULA with the launch of the GOES-R satellite and grateful for the phenomenal teamwork that made today’s launch a success,” said Laura Maginnis, ULA vice president of Custom Services.
This mission was launched aboard an Atlas V Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) 541 configuration vehicle, which includes a 5-meter large Payload Fairing (PLF) and four solid rocket boosters. The Atlas booster for this mission was powered by the RD AMROSS RD-180 engine, and the Centaur upper stage was powered by the Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10C engine.
“ULA’s Atlas and Delta vehicles successfully launched every operational GOES satellite, beginning with the launch of GOES-A in 1975,” said Maginnis. “We are proud to have partnered with NASA and NOAA in continuing to deliver this capability to millions around the globe.”
The GOES-R satellite will arrive in its final orbit in about 5 months with diagnostic testing continuing through much of 2017. The satellite’s data is expected to regularly stream to earth for all to use beginning sometime in November 2017.