Lockheed Ships GOES-R Geostationary Lightning Mapper

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WASHINGTON — Lockheed Martin Space Systems shipped the Geostationary Lightning Mapper instrument it built for a next-generation geostationary U.S. weather satellite to Denver from Palo Alto, California, for integration with its host spacecraft, which the company is also building, according to an Oct. 15 press release.

The instrument is powered by a high-speed camera with a 1.8 megapixel focal plane and can capture images at 500 frames a second, Lockheed said. The camera will track lightning flashes from geostationary orbit from the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES)-R spacecraft the company is building for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which operates U.S. civilian weather satellites.

GOES-R is slated to launch in early 2016. Lockheed is building four GOES-R series satellites under a NOAA contract now worth about $1.4 billion, following the government’s 2013 decision to exercise options for a pair of satellites. The GOES-R satellites are expected to ensure continued coverage of the Western Hemisphere’s weather through 2036.