NOAA’s GOES-R Launch Promises New Era in Weather Forecasting
[Via Satellite 11-21-2016] The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite R-Series (GOES-R) spacecraft, successfully took to the sky on Nov. 19, as the first satellite in a series of four advanced geostationary weather satellites for the U.S. government. The 6,280-pound, Lockheed Martin-built satellite carries six instruments that fit into three classifications: Earth-pointing, solar-pointing and in-situ (near environment). With these instruments, the spacecraft aims to improve weather forecasting quality and timeliness, generating significant economic benefits to the nation in the areas of climate monitoring, ecosystems management, commerce and transportation.
Launched from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas 5 rocket, the spacecraft successfully deployed its large solar array, which provides its electrical power, and established communications with mission operators. Powering the Atlas 5 launch vehicle were Aerojet Rocketdyne propulsion systems, including the RL10C-1 upper-stage engine, four Solid Rocket Boosters (SRBs), six helium pressurization tanks and a dozen Centaur upper-stage Reaction Control System (RCS) thrusters. On the GOES-R satellite, Aerojet Rocketdyne also provided all of the monopropellant hydrazine rocket engines, as well as the electric propulsion subsystem.
Once in geostationary orbit, the NOAA GOES-R weather and environmental satellite will provide National Weather Service forecasters the meteorological equivalent of going from black and white to Ultra-HD color TV, according to a NASA release. The new satellite can deliver vivid images of severe weather as often as every 30 seconds, scanning the Earth five times faster, with four times greater image resolution and using triple the number of spectral channels compared with the current GOES spacecraft.