NASA awards $150 million GOES-U launch contract to SpaceX

NASA’s GOES-U weather satellite will be launched aboard a Falcon Heavy rocket in 2024.
SpaceX will launch NASA’s GOES-U weather satellite aboard a Falcon Heavy from the Kennedy Space Center in 2024 | Image credit: SpaceX

NASA has selected the SpaceX Falcon Heavy to launch its Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-U (GOES-U) mission.

Under the $152.5 million contract announced September 10, SpaceX will launch a Falcon Heavy carrying the GOES-U weather satellite in April 2024 from Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The more than 5,000-kilogram GOES-U satellite is the fourth and final of the GOES-R series of weather satellites operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The first two GOES-R satellites were launched in 2016 and 2018, with a third expected to follow in 2022.

Once launched, the GOES-U satellite will collect advanced imagery and atmospheric measurements of Earth’s weather, oceans, and environment. it will also provide real-time mapping of lightning activity and improve NASA’s ability to monitor solar activity and space weather.

GOES-U is the second NASA mission the agency has select to launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon Heavy in less than two months. In July, NASA awarded a $178 million contract to SpaceX for the launch of its Europa Clipper mission.

The next Falcon Heavy launch is currently slated for October 9. The launch will be the first Falcon Heavy flight to carry a classified payload. The classified USSF-44 payload will be accompanied by at least two rideshare payloads, including the TETRA-1 satellite for the United States Space Force.

Andrew Parsonson is a space enthusiast and the founder of Rocket Rundown. He has worked as a journalist and blogger for various industries for over 5 years and has a passion for both fictional and real-life space travel. Currently, Andrew is the primary writer for Rocket Rundown as we look to expand our reach and credibility.