NOAA’s Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-S (GOES-S) is the second in the GOES-R Series of weather satellites that includes GOES-R (now named GOES-16), -S, -T and -U. The GOES-S satellite will be renamed GOES-17 when it reaches geostationary orbit. Once the satellite is declared operational, late this year, it will occupy NOAA’s GOES-West position and provide faster, more accurate data for tracking wildfires, tropical cyclones, fog and other storm systems and hazards that threaten the western United States, including Hawaii and Alaska, Mexico, Central America and the Pacific Ocean, all the way to New Zealand.
The rocket standing on the pad at Space Launch Complex 41 is an Atlas V 541 configuration, one of the most powerful rockets in the Atlas V fleet. The 541 designation means this rocket has a payload fairing, or nose cone, that is approximately five meters wide, four solid-rocket boosters fastened alongside the central common core booster, and a single engine on its Centaur upper stage. Booster propulsion is provided by the RD-180 engine system, a single engine with two thrust chambers. The RD-180 burns Rocket Propellant-1 (RP-1), a highly purified kerosene, along with liquid oxygen. Four solid rocket boosters generate the additional power required at liftoff, each providing 348,500 pounds of thrust.
The booster is controlled by the Centaur second stage avionics system, which provides guidance, flight control and vehicle sequencing functions during the booster and Centaur phases of flight. An Atlas V 541 rocket launched NASA’s Curiosity rover Nov. 26, 2011 on its 10-month, 354-million-mile journey to the surface of Mars. The single-engine Centaur upper stage is a cryogenic vehicle, fueled with liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen. The two-piece payload fairing that protects the GOES-S satellite tops the vehicle.
The latest weather update from meteorologists with the U.S. Air Force 45th Space Wing is now at a 90 percent chance of favorable weather today for liftoff of the Atlas V rocket with NOAA’s GOES-S satellite. The rocket is slated to liftoff at 5:02 p.m. EST.
Today is launch day for NOAA’s newest weather satellite, the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-S (GOES-S). A two-hour launch window will open at 5:02 p.m. EST today. GOES-S will launch on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Stay tuned — launch coverage will begin at 4:30 p.m.