NOAA prepares GOES-S for launch as Lockheed Martin builds successors

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AUSTIN, Texas — As the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration prepares for the March 1 launch of its next Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) S on an Atlas 5 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, prime contractor Lockheed Martin is working in Denver on its successors GOES-T and GOES-U.

GOES-S is in the Astrotech Space Operations facility in Titusville, Florida, and “functionally, things look good,” Tim Walsh, NOAA’s acting system program director for the GOES-R series, said Jan. 9 at the American Meteorological Society meeting here. “Soon, we’ll be stacking it on the rocket.”

GOES-S, which will be renamed GOES-17 when it reaches geostationary orbit, will go into service immediately upon commissioning, Steve Volz, NOAA acting assistant secretary for environmental observation and prediction, said Jan. 9 at the AMS meeting to a round of applause from researchers eager for access to the data. Within six months of launch, NOAA plans to move the GOES-S satellite into position to serve as the GOES-west satellite, Volz added.

As final preparations for the GOES-S launch continue in Florida, Lockheed Martin is working in Denver on its successors GOES-T and GOES-U. Engineers are installing the solar pointing instruments, Extreme Ultraviolet and X-Ray Irradiance Sensors and Solar Ultraviolet Imager, on the GOES-T satellite. In February, they plan to begin integrating GOES-T’s nadir instruments, Advanced Baseline Imager and Global Lightning Mapper, Tim Gasparinni, Lockheed Martin GOES-R Series program manager, said in an interview.

After launch slated for 2020, GOES-T will be stored over the middle of the continental United States where it will serve as NOAA’s spare geostationary satellite, Walsh said.

Technicians at Lockheed Martin work on GOES-T satellite. Credit: Lockheed Martin
Technicians at Lockheed Martin work on GOES-T satellite. Credit: Lockheed Martin