KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL – From both the technical and weather standpoint, the outlook is outstanding for Saturdays sunset blastoff of the NASA/NOAA GOES-R geostationary weather observation satellite that’s set to deliver a ‘quantum leap’ in weather forecasting on Nov. 19.
Everything is progressing as planned toward liftoff of the school bus sized GOES-R weather satellite atop a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket on Saturday, Nov. 19 at 5:42 p.m. from Space Launch Complex 41 (SLC-41) on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, just about 17 minutes after sunset.
“GOES-R offers a quantum leap above prior weather satellites, the greatest in 40 years,” said Steve Volz, assistant administrator, NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service, at the prelaunch news briefing at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.
“GOES-R will be revolutionary with faster, more accurate forecasts and more lives saved.”
“It will take our capability for life saving forecasts to a new level and it will be a game changer.”
GOES-R, which stands for Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite – R Series – is a new and advanced transformational weather satellite that will vastly enhance the quality, speed and accuracy of weather forecasting available to forecasters for Earth’s Western Hemisphere.
It will collect 3 times more spectral data with 4 times greater resolution and scans 5 times faster than ever before – via the primary Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) instrument instrument – compared to the current GOES satellites.
So instead of seeing weather as it was, viewers will see weather as it is.
Whereas the current GOES-NOP imagers scan the full hemispheric disk in 26 minutes, the new GOES-ABI can simultaneously scan the Western Hemisphere every 15 minutes, the Continental U.S. every 5 minutes and areas of severe weather every 30-60 seconds.
The soar to space should be spectacular for locals and tourists gathering from around the world to view the launch now slated for less than 24 hours from now.
The launch window opens at 5:42 p.m.
The launch window extends for an hour from 5:42-6:42 p.m. EST.
Following a short delay, the Atlas V with GOES bolted on top was rolled out to pad 41 this morning, Friday, November. 18.
GOES-R is GO for launch.
NASA’s GOES-R launch coverage will be broadcast on NASA TV beginning at 4:45 p.m. EDT Nov. 19.
You can watch the launch live at NASA TV at – http://www.nasa.gov/nasatv
Coverage will conclude after spacecraft separation from the Centaur and the GOES-R solar arrays are deployed, which occurs approximately 3 ½ hours after launch. At that time the spacecraft initial state of health can be determined and will be confirmed on the air. There is no planned post-launch news conference.
The weather forecast shows a 90 percent chance of favorable weather conditions for Saturday’s sunset blastoff. The primary concern is for cumulous clouds.
In the event of a 24 hour delay, the weather forecast shows an 80 percent chance of favorable weather conditions on Sunday, Nov. 20.
GOES-R is the first in a new series of American’s most powerful and most advanced next generation weather observation satellites. It is designed to last for a 15 year orbital lifetime.
The 11,000 pound satellite was built by prime contractor Lockheed Martin and is the first of a quartet of four identical satellites – comprising GOES-R, S, T, and U – at an overall cost of about $11 Billion. This will keep the GOES satellite system operational through 2036.
GOES-R will blastoff on a ULA Atlas V in the very powerful 541 configuration, augmented by four solid rocket boosters on the first stage. The payload fairing is 5 meters (16.4 feet) in diameter and the upper stage is powered by a single-engine Centaur.
It will be launched to a Geostationary orbit some 22,300 miles above Earth.
The gigantic school bus sized satellite is equipped with a suite of six instruments or sensors that are the most advanced of their kind. They will be used for three types of observations: Earth sensing, solar imaging, and space environment measuring. They will point to the Earth, the Sun and the in-situ environment of the spacecraft.
The suite includes the Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI), Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM), Solar Ultraviolet Imager (SUVI), Extreme Ultraviolet and X-Ray Irradiance Sensors (EXIS), Space Environment In-Situ Suite (SEISS), and the Magnetometer (MAG).
Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news.