A second next-generation National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather satellite has been successfully deployed. The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-S (GOES-S) was launched aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V into a geostationary orbit at an altitude of approximately 35,800 kilometres (22,300 miles).
The Atlas V carrying the GOES-S satellite lifted off from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral in Florida at 22:02 GMT (17:02 EST) on March 2, 2018. Following a successful deployment, mission managers confirmed that the spacecraft’s solar arrays had extended without incident and that the spacecraft was operating nominally under its own power.
In roughly two weeks, the GOES-S satellite will be renamed GOES-17. Mission managers will then begin a full system check battery testing the spacecraft’s six primary mission instruments. This period of systems validation will require months to complete with the satellite expected to only become operational later this year.
According to a NASA press release, once the satellite is operational it will offer “advanced imagery and atmospheric measurements, real-time mapping of lightning activity, and improved monitoring of solar activity and space weather.” The satellite will also locate and track wildfires providing real-time data to first responders, and offer forecasts of fog activity that could affect airport operations.
GOES-17 will work in tandem with the first next-generation NOAA weather satellite GOES-R (GOES-16) which was launched in November 2016.
Last week’s Atlas V launch is ULA’s second of 2018 with the first launching the billion-dollar U.S. early missile-warning satellite. The launch was also the 76th launch of the Atlas V rocket and the 126th for the launch provider since it was founded in late 2006.
The Atlas V will again be in action next month with the launch the U.S. Air Force AFSPC 11 payload.
Image Credit: United Launch Alliance