NOAA's GOES-R weather satellite, built by Lockheed Martin, was successfully launched today at 6:42 p.m. ET from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 541 rocket. The spacecraft successfully deployed its large solar array, which provides its electrical power, and established communications with mission operators.
The first of four next-generation geostationary weather satellites, the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite R-Series, or GOES-R, will provide a major improvement in quality, quantity and timeliness of weather data collected over the Western Hemisphere. This accurate real-time data will be used to provide short-term forecasts, severe storm warnings, maritime forecasts, seasonal predictions and space weather alerts.
"GOES-R will substantially improve our nation's weather and space weather prediction capability," said Tim Gasparrini, GOES-R vice president and program manager at Lockheed Martin Space Systems. "This is a prime example of how our expertise in spacecraft development, earth instruments and space-science instruments can combine to save lives and property."
Lockheed Martin designed, built and tested the satellite at its Space Systems facility near Denver. In addition to the four GOES-R Series satellites (R, S, T and U), Lockheed Martin designed and built the Solar Ultraviolet Imager (SUVI) and the Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) instruments that will fly aboard each spacecraft. Those instruments were built at the company's Advanced Technology Center in Palo Alto, California.
"Our nation now has a new weather sentinel, and the data it will produce will soon be vital to our severe storm prediction and warnings," said Lisa Callahan, vice president and general manager of Civil Space at Lockheed Martin Space Systems. "The data will not only keep our citizens out of harm's way but will also be used across the Americas."
NOAA funds, manages and will operate the GOES-R Series satellites. NASA oversees the acquisition and development of the GOES-R spacecraft, instruments and launch vehicle. The program is co-located at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.