ULA launches Lockheed-built GOES-S weather satellite for NOAA

Artist image of NOAA’s GOES-S satellite

NOAA in partnership with NASA will launch the next generation Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-S (GOES-S) later to be named as GOES-West.

One of Centennial-based ULA's Atlas V rockets blasted off Thursday afternoon from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station carrying the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-S (GOES-S) satellite, built in Jefferson County by Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co.

The second of four next-generation GOES weather satellites, the stars of an $11 billion program to upgrade America's weather observation and forecasting infrastructure, is poised for launch Thursday atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket.

A next-generation weather satellite slated to hitch a ride on an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral on Thursday will join its sibling 22,300 miles above the Earth, arming forecasters with high-definition data from nearly the entire Western Hemisphere. The new satellite, named GOES-S at present and to be renamed GOES-17 once it reaches orbit, is the second member of a new generation of weather satellites that will provide accurate data for tracking storms, wildfires, cyclones and other severe weather conditions in the western part of the US once it becomes fully functional later this year. The satellite is equipped with a thruster, which scientists will use to shift it into its final circular orbit over the equator.




With it, the United States will now have two of the most advanced weather satellites working in tandem to provide unprecedented coverage across the entire USA and most of the Western Hemisphere, from the west coast of Africa to New Zealand. It will also provide high-resolution images above Alaska and nearby areas at high latitudes where the agency doesn't now have usable data from its "geostationary constellation". The advanced weather satellite will give researchers and meteorologists unparalleled views of the U.S. West. The camera now has the ability to send back pictures at four times the resolution sent by previous such solutions. The same first-class service is now coming to the Pacific region.

GOES-East (already in operation) and GOES-West (expected late 2018). The newest satellite GOES-S, developed by Lockheed Martin will enter into the constellation of satellites created to observe atmospheric phenomena in the Western hemisphere. GOES-S will be designated GOES-17 upon reaching geostationary orbit. The first GOES satellite was launched in November 2016.

Recall, the company Elon musk SpaceX launched from space launch complex Vandenberg in California, the Falcon 9 rocket with a satellite PAZ. He said the satellite also tracked the direction of the fires like never before, prompting first responders to later tell NOAA: "You saved lives".

Two additional satellites, GOES-T and GOES-U, are also planned to be launched in 2020 and 2024, respectively.

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