GOES-P Goes to Space

A Delta IV rocket rumbled and roared off launch pad 37B at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida Thursday evening, sending the GOES-P satellite soaring into a crisp and clear night sky. With liftoff at 6:57 p.m. EST, the rocket could be seen for several minutes after launch, and booster separation was clearly visible to observers on the NASA Causeway. The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-P, or GOES-P, is the latest in a series of meteorological satellites designed to watch for storm development and weather conditions on Earth as well as detect hazards with its emergency beacon support and Search and Rescue Transponder. It will take ten days for the satellite to maneuver to its geostationary equatorial orbit at 35,888 km (22,300 miles). Once there, GOES-P will get a new name: GOES-15.

It will take five months for all the instruments on board to be tested and calibrated. After that, GOES-15 will be a back-up satellite, stored on-orbit and ready for activation should one of the operational GOES satellites degrade or exhaust their fuel.

The satellite is a cooperative effort between NASA and NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

GOES-P launch. Image Credit: Alan Walters (awaltersphoto.com) for Universe Today.

NOAA has two operational GOES satellites: GOES-12 in the east and GOES-11 in the west. Each provides continuous observations of environmental conditions in North, Central and South America and the surrounding oceans. GOES-13 is being moved to replace GOES-12, which will be positioned to provide coverage for South America as part of the Global Earth Observing System of Systems, or GEOSS.

Thanks to Alan Walters for great images of the launch.

On a personal note, I’ve now seen three different launches – each with a different launch vehicle — in just four weeks here at Kennedy Space Center (space shuttle Endeavour, SDO on Atlas and now GOES-P on the Delta IV.) KSC is a busy spaceport, indeed!

6 Replies to “GOES-P Goes to Space”

  1. Seeing the space shuttle sitting there, reminds me that it’s been there for a few weeks now, unable to lift off because it’s an aging piece of hardware…Though I’m a huge fan of everything to do with our space program, I do sort of wonder about why it’s necessary to park a satellite in orbit, given the stresses that impact it (radiation, micrometeorites, etc), stresses that I assume will shorten its operational lifetime once it does go into active service.

  2. @kettythomasan,

    What would be the alternative. Turn off all the world’s weather satellites and go back to planes and balloons for weather forecasts?

    “…I’m a huge fan of everything to do with our space program…” *really*

    I guess just not the life-saving weather satellite program run by NASA-NOAA.

  3. Delta IV. And we felt the sound waves/vibrations from Delta IV but not Atlas. But we were also closer to the GOES P launch, as well (about 2 miles away, I was told, vs. 3). But nothing compares to the shuttle launch for sound! It engulfs you!

  4. Hey, just out of curiosity, will they be coming out with a satellite that is called GOES-PU? =^_^=

  5. But no, seriously, I’m very glad in the improvements in satellites today. Perhaps there is one that can actually clean the air by using some sort of particle beam, like when you place goggles in a cabinet and turn on the light and it cleans off any bacteria from them. That’d be cool.

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