Thursday, March 15, 2018

Revolutionary GOES-S Weather Observatory Reaches Geostationary Orbit, Renamed GOES-17

GOES-S view of Earth from its checkout location.  Credit: NOAA

Ken Kremer  --  --   14 Mar 2018

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL –  Less than 2 weeks after the dinnertime blastoff of the GOES-S weather observatory put on a stunningly delicious launch display from the Florida Space Coast on March 1, 2018, the revolutionary satellite that will track extreme weather in near real time reached geostationary orbit and was renamed as GOES-17.
On March 12, GOES-S executed its final liquid apogee engine burn, placing the satellite in geostationary orbit 22,236 miles away,” NOAA announced in a statement.
“GOES-S is now GOES-17!”

GOES-17 will revolutionize weather forecasting in the Western Hemisphere orbiting  some 22,200 mi (35800 km) above Earth where it will operate for the remainder of its planned 15 year lifetime. 

The 5.5 ton school bus sized probe will provide vastly improved forecasts and warnings on weather, wildfires, tornadoes and cyclones for California and the western United States all the way out to Hawaii and Guam in ways that will positively impact the lives of everyday people as well as save lives by helping pinpoint outbreaks of severe weather in near real time. 
The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-S (GOES-S) lifted off on a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket from seaside Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 5:02 p.m. EST on March 1, 2018.

ULA Atlas V rocket lifts off from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station carrying the NOAA/NASA Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite, or GOES-S at 5:02 p.m. EST on March 1, 2018. - as seen from the VAB roof. GOES-S will be stationed over the western US. Credit: Ken Kremer/

With GOES-17 now in geostationary orbit, the next steps are to complete the deployment of the solar array  and solar pointing platform and maneuver the satellite to its checkout position at 89.5 degrees West longitude.
A six-month checkout of its suite of six state-of-the-art science observing instruments and space craft systems will commence on March 26.
NOAA says the first images are expected in mid-May.
Thereafter it will be moved to its operational location at 137 degrees West longitude in late 2018 and become NOAA’s new GOES West observatory – thereby replacing the current legacy satellite.

An operational GOES-17 will complete NOAA’s constellation of two next-generation geostationary satellites for the Western Hemisphere.

GOES-17 joins twin sister GOES-16 which was the first in the series of US next-gen weather observatories and recently became operational as NOAA’s new GOES-East observatory at 75 degrees West longitude.

Together, GOES-16 and GOES-17 will keep an eye on weather and environmental hazards from the west coast of Africa all the way to New Zealand.
Image shows the view of Earth from the GOES West operational position. Credit: NOAA/CIMSS

NOAA manages the GOES-R Series program through an integrated NOAA/NASA office at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

GOES-S/GOES-17 and GOES-R/GOES-16 were built by prime contractor Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Littleton, Colorado.  
GOES-17 will deliver a quantum leap in weather forecasting for the western United States just as GOES-R – the first satellite in the new series – is now doing for the eastern United Stated since it only recently became operational in December 2017.

GOES-17 will provide faster, more accurate, and more detailed data in near real-time to track storm systems, lightning, wildfires, coastal fog, and other hazards that affect the western U.S., Hawaii and Alaska. 

“GOES 17 will become operational in the fall of 2018, “ Tim Walsh, acting GOES-R system program director at NOAA told Space UpClose during an interview at KSC. “It will give us the equivalent perspective for the western US that we now have for the eastern US using the six onboard instruments namely ABI and GLM, SUVI, EXIS, SEIS and the magnetometer.”

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket lifts off from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station carrying the NOAA/NASA Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite, or GOES-S at 5:02 p.m. EST on March 1, 2018. Credit: Ken Kremer/

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. 

GOES-S will work in tandem with twin sister satellite GOES-R which 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.

The GOES-R series (including GOES-S) state-of-the-art science instrument 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.

ABI views the earth with 16 spectral channels in the visible, near infrared and infrared channels compared to 5 for the legacy GOES satellites.

“We are seeing a revolutionary step forward in performance with 4x better spatial resolution, 3 x as many frequencies or spectral bands, and we receive images 5 x faster,” Walsh said already with GOES-R/GOES-16 compared to the legacy GOES East/West satellite imager technologies “which were created and developed in the mid-1980s.”

“Currently to do a full western hemisphere image with the current imager on orbit today takes 26 minutes. With GOES-R now we can do the same thing in 5 minutes.”

“So it gives us much better severe weather forecasting and now weather forecasting imagery.”

“We hope to start test imaging with GOES-S by around early May, said Walsh. “First we need to raise the temperature of the instruments once on orbit. We will outgas them for several weeks.”

“There is no real difference between this spacecraft GOES-S/GOES 17 and GOES-R/GOES 16.” 

But they will be located at different positions in the equatorial belt to obtain different views.  Together they will be able to image the entire US and regions further out beyond to the east and west to provide coverage of the entire Western Hemisphere.

“GOES 17 will provide imagery that will complement what we have from GOES 16.”

“GOES S will be located at 137 degrees west longitude over the eastern pacific. So at that time we will be able to see the entire United States out to Hawaii, Alaska and even almost to New Zealand.”

“GOES-R/GOES 16 is located at 75 degrees west longitude gives the full Eastern seaboard and CONUS [continental US] coverage,” Walsh explained.

Video Caption: This animation depicts the areas of the Earth viewed by GOES East and GOES West from their vantage point 22,236 miles above the equator. NOAA maintains a two-satellite Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) constellation to watch over the Western Hemisphere. The satellites circle the Earth in geosynchronous orbit, which means they orbit the Earth’s equatorial plane at a speed matching the Earth’s rotation. This allows them to stay in a fixed position in the sky, remaining stationary with respect to a point on the ground.  Credit: NOAA/NASA

The gigantic school bus sized satellite measures  6.1 m x 5.6 m x 3.9 m (20.0 ft x 18.4 ft x 12.8 ft) with a three-axis stabilized spacecraft bus.

It has a dry mass of 2,857 kg (6,299 lbs) and a fueled mass of 5,192 kg (11,446 lbs) at launch.

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket lifts off from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station carrying the NOAA/NASA Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite, or GOES-S at 5:02 p.m. EST on March 1, 2018. Credit: Ken Kremer/

Watch this GOES-East Full Disk GeoColor satellite imagery GIF, March 14, 2018:

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The NASA/NOAA Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-S (GOES-S) is being processed in the clean room at Astrotech Space Operations, in Titusville, FL, on Jan 16, 2018 in advance of nose cone encapsulation and launch on a ULA Atlas V on Mar. 1, 2018.  GOES-S belongs to new constellation of America’s most advanced weather satellites. Credit: Ken Kremer/

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