• NOAA’s GOES-S satellite arrived at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Shuttle Landing Facility on Dec. 4, 2017 aboard a U.S. Air Force C-5M Super Galaxy cargo jet. Launch scheduled for March 1, 2018. Credits: NOAA/NASA/Michael Starobin
  • GOES-S now resides in a clean room at Astrotech Space Operations in Titusville, Florida, where it will undergo preparations for launch. Credits: NOAA/NASA/Michael Starobin
  • GOES-S weather observation satellite instrument suite. Credit: NASA/NOAA
  • The NASA/NOAA GOES-R (Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite – R Series) being processed at Astrotech Space Operations, in Titusville, FL, in advance of launch on a ULA Atlas V on Nov. 19, 2016. GOES-R will be America’s most advanced weather satellite. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com

GOES-S Next Gen Weather Satellite Arrives at Kennedy Space Center for Launch Preparations

Ken Kremer -- Space UpClose -- 3 Jan 2018

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL – The massive 5.5 ton GOES-S next generation geostationary weather observation satellite has arrived at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida and preparations to ready the powerful Earth monitoring spacecraft forblastoff in March are in full swing.

Liftoff of the NOAA/NASA GOES-S geostationary weather observation satellite is scheduled for March 1, 2018 aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket fromSpace Launch Complex-41 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

GOES-S was built by prime contractor Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Littleton, Colorado and flown cross country inside a shipping container aboard a U.S. Air Force C-5M Super Galaxy cargo transport. It arrived at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Shuttle Landing Facility on Dec. 4, 2017.

After its KSC arrival, the 11,400 pound (5100 kg) GOES-S spacecraft was transported by truck to Astrotech Space Operations in Titusville, Florida. The facility is located nearby the Kennedy Space Center.

GOES-S was carefully removed from the shipping container to carry out about two months of additional testing, check out and verification of the spacecraft systems and science instruments by technicians working inside the huge cleanroom processing facility at Astrotech. After all that work is satisfactorily done they will encapsulate it inside the payload fairing halves.

The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite Program (GOES) system consists of a series of geostationary weather observation satellites orbiting more than 22,000 miles above Earth developed for the nation as part of a cooperative joint effort between NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

“This is a major milestone for the GOES-S team. GOES-16, its sister satellite, is about to become operational and is proving to be a game-changer for weather forecasting andenvironmental hazard assessment,” said Tim Walsh, acting system program director for the GOES-R Series Program at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, in a statement.

“We are excited to get GOES-S into orbit and extend the area covered by this revolutionary new technology.”

GOES-S is the second in the new GOES-R series of America’s most powerful and most advanced next generation geostationary weather observation satellites. It is designed to last for a 15 year orbital lifetime and will deliver a ‘quantum leap’ in weather forecasting.

The first satellite in the series called GOES-R went through a similar processing phase at Astrotech as I observed at the time in September 2016 and shown in my Space UpClose photos herein.

“We are bringing the nation a new capability .. that’s a dramatic leap .. to scan the entirehemisphere in about 5 minutes,” said Greg Mandt, NOAA GOES-R program manager during a briefing in the Astrotech cleanroom.

“GOES-R has both weather and space weather detection capabilities!” Tim Gasparrini, GOES-R program manager for Lockheed Martin, told Space UpClose during a GOES-Rcleanroom interview.

GOES-R was successfully launched by a ULA Atlas V on Nov. 19, 2016.

Altogether the GOES-R series consists of a quartet of four identical satellites - comprising GOES-R, GOES-S, GOES-T and GOES-U – manufactured at an overall cost of about $11 Billion. This will keep the GOES satellite system operational through 2036.

Together they will “significantly improve the detection and observation of environmental phenomena that directly affect public safety, protection of property and the nation's economic health and prosperity,” according to a NASA/NOAA description.

The GOES-R series science 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).

ABI is the primary instrument and 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 - 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 30-60seconds.

GOES satellites are designated with a letter prior to launch and a number once they achieve geostationary orbit.

GOES-R, the first satellite in the series, was renamed GOES-16. GOES-16 recently took its place as NOAA’s GOES-East satellite, “keeping an eye on the continental United States and the Atlantic Ocean.”

“Once in orbit it will be known as GOES-17. TV viewers are presently accustomed to seeing daily streams of imagery from the GOES-East and GOES-West weather observation satellites currently in orbit.”

“GOES-S will be designated GOES-17 upon reaching geostationary orbit. After a period of on-orbit test and checkout, GOES-17 will be operational as GOES-West, providing coverage of the western U.S., Alaska, Hawaii and the Pacific Ocean. An operational GOES-17 will give the Western Hemisphere two next-generation geostationary environmental satellites. Together, GOES-16 and GOES-17 will observe Earth from the west coast of Africa all the way to Guam.”

Stay tuned here for Ken's continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news.
Side view of NASA/NOAA GOES-R next gen weather observation satellite showing solar panels and instruments inside Astrotech Space Operations cleanroom, in Titusville, FL, prior to launch Nov. 19, 2016. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com
Tim Gasparinni, GOES-R program manager for Lockheed Martin, and Ken Kremer/Space UpClose pose with GOES-R revolutionary weather satellite inside Astrotech Space Operations cleanroom, in Titusville, FL, and built by NASA/NOAA/Lockheed Martin/Harris. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com