Groundbreaking GOES-S weather satellite successfully lifts off aboard ULA’s Atlas V
An Atlas V rocket built by United Launch Alliance took to the sky above the Space Coast on the afternoon of Thursday, March 1st. The rocket left Space Launch Complex 41 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and began its journey towards space at the beginning of the 5:02 pm EST launch window. The Atlas V rocket flew in its 541 configuration, with 4 Aerojet Rocketdyne solid rocket boosters added along-side the rocket’s liquid-fueled RD-180 engine.
Within the rocket’s 5-meter payload fairing sat the GOES-S (Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite R-Series) Spacecraft, a joint-effort satellite developed by NASA and NOAA. The spacecraft will be delivered into orbit 22,300 miles above Earth and will provide advanced coverage to the western United States, including detailed images of storms, weather patterns, and even wildfires. Once in this operational state, the spacecraft will then be called “GOES-West” or “GOES-17”. Numerous GOES satellites have been launched since the first mission in 1975, all aboard ULA rockets.
The last satellite of this type to be deployed was “GOES-EAST” or “GOES-16” (formerly GOES-R), that lifted off from Cape Canaveral on November 19th, 2016. These two most recent GOES satellites are part of a series of 4 that are being manufactured by Lockheed Martin. The new series of satellites brings incredible improvements in data speed, resolution, and transmission. The end result includes more accurate forecasts that can be delivered in times previously unimaginable.
The media was given an incredible view of the launch, from the roof of NASA’s 525-foot tall Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB). Media members were also brought to SLC-41 to view the Atlas V up-close and set up sound-triggered ‘remote’ cameras. Photos reveal the intense power and dramatic plume of smoke created by the rockets liquid engines and solid rocket boosters during liftoff.
Special thanks must be given to ULA, NASA, NOAA, Kennedy Space Center, and all of those involved in hosting the events for the media. We appreciate the memorable and educational experience.