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