GOES-U Satellite Goes to Space in June

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10 Jun 2024 4:30 PM

The GOES Satellite family is getting bigger. GOES-U is the fourth and final of NOAA’s Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES) to be launched. It follows GOES R, S, and T, on a mission that began in 2016.   

When in orbit more than 22 thousand miles above Earth, the satellite will be renamed GOES-19 and will replace the GOES-16 satellite currently in orbit over the eastern half of the United States. GOES-16 will remain a backup satellite.  Together with GOES-18 over the western U.S., the two satellites will cover half the planet: from the west coast of Africa to New Zealand. They will provide real-time updates of weather and atmospheric conditions in as little as 30 seconds.  

Technology onboard GOES-U will gather data for hurricane track and intensity forecasts, early warning of severe storms, fire detection, sea surface conditions and much more. It has the same six instruments as the previous four GOES satellites but one new instrument too. GOES-U is equipped with the first operational compact coronagraph to help detect space weather and aid in early warnings for Earth impacts.  

  1. Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI):  Primary on-board instrument for monitoring Earth's weather, ocean, and environment.  

  1. Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM): operational lightning mapper to help with lightning detection and intensification of storms  

  1. X-ray Irradiance Sensors (EXIS): provide imaging of the sun and detection of solar flares 

  1. Solar Ultraviolet Imager (SUVI) 

  1. The Space Environment In-Situ Suite (SEISS)  

  1. Magnetometer 

  1. Compact Coronograph (NEW): will help detect coronal mass ejections and forecasters at the Space Weather Center with space weather impacts to Earth, it works by creating a total solar eclipse (as viewed by the chronograph) to observe the Sun's outer atmosphere.

All Satellites were built for a 10-year operational capability with additional time for “backup” operations, carrying us into the 2030s. NOAA and NASA are already in development of the next satellite series, GeoXO, Geostationary Extended Observations. The GeoXO project will “provide new and improved observations of the atmosphere, weather and ocean to help address emerging environmental issues, respond to the effects of Earth’s changing climate, and improve forecasting and warning of severe weather and hazards” according to NOAA.  

GOES-U will launch from the Kennedy Space Center aboard a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket in late June. This is a delay from an early launch date because a "liquid oxygen leak was discovered during routine new booster testing" according to NASA.

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