NASA, NOAA and United Launch Alliance controllers and engineers conducted a full dress rehearsal Monday for the launch of the GOES-R spacecraft later this week. The practice is standard for the launch team as it prepares for a mission. Working from consoles in facilities at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, the teams ran through the same systems and processes they will use for the actual launch, which is set for Saturday at 5:42 p.m. EST. The launch window extends until 6:42 p.m. The weather forecast for Saturday calls for an 80 percent chance of acceptable conditions for launch.
The practice kicks off launch week which will include numerous activities leading up to the rollout of the Atlas V rocket to the pad at Space Launch Complex 41 and then to the launch itself. The GOES-R spacecraft, to be operated by NOAA once in orbit, will be the most advanced satellite of its kind. Equipped with specialized sensors, GOES-R will give forecasters better data, faster. That information will be used to enhance computer models and help meteorologists ultimately produce more sophisticated weather forecasts. For six reasons GOES-R matters, click here. Photo credit: NASA/Dan Casper
An Atlas V rocket is set to lift off Nov. 19 at 5:42 p.m. EST to deliver NOAA’s latest-generation weather satellite, GOES-R, into orbit. NASA is conducting the launch through its Launch Services Program. United Launch Alliance engineers are processing the rocket at Space Launch Complex 41 ahead of launch. After several months of processing at Astrotech in Titusville, Florida, the GOES-R spacecraft has been encapsulated inside a payload fairing for protection during the climb through Earth’s atmosphere on the way to orbit. Carrying the most advanced sensors of their kind, the GOES-R spacecraft will fly more than 22,000 miles above Earth where it will offer weather forecasters an unblinking eye on conditions on the planet below.
Processing engineers are set to encapsulate the GOES-R weather satellite into its payload fairing at the Astrotech payload processing facility near NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The work is being performed as teams from NASA, United Launch Alliance and NOAA progress toward a liftoff on Nov. 16 from Space Launch Complex 41 aboard an Atlas V rocket. Launch time is 4:42 p.m. EDT.
The spacecraft, folded into launch position, will be enclosed inside the two halves of the fairing before being taken to the launch pad and positioned atop the Atlas V. The fairing will protect the spacecraft during the climb through the lower atmosphere, then the two pieces will be jettisoned as the rocket pushes GOES-R toward its final orbit more than 22,000 miles above Earth. Once in orbit and operational, GOES-R will use its advanced instruments to help weather forecasters on Earth predict storms and atmospheric conditions and to track environmental changes. Photos credit: NASA/Dimitri Gerondidakis