In the Cleanroom with Game Changing GOES-S Next Gen Weather Satellite for Western US – Launching March 1

The NASA/NOAA Geostationary Operational Environmental
Satellite-S (GOES-S) is being processed
in the clean room at Astrotech Space Operations, in Titusville, FL, on Jan. 16, in advance of nose cone encapsulation for
planned launch on a ULA Atlas V slated for Mar. 1, 2018.  GOES-S belongs to new constellation of America’s
most advanced weather satellites.
Credit: Ken
Kremer/SpaceUpClose.com/kenkremer.com


KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL – Launch of
the game changing NASA/NOAA next generation GOES-S geostationary weather
observation satellite offering a “dramatic leap in capability” for the western
United States is on track for this week, Thursday, Mar. 1 from the Florida
Space Coast and will complete the initial upgrade in the US weather fleet.

GOES-S will thus join twin sister
observatory GOES-R, which recently became operational for the eastern US, and thereby
complete the equally dramatic three decade leap in weather satellite capability
impacting the entire continental US as well as Hawaii and Alaska
from an orbital perch 22,200 mi (35800 km) above Earth.

And Space UpClose recently got an up
close look and media briefing about the massive 5.5 ton observatory inside the
cleanroom processing facility at Astrotech Space Operations in Titusville, Fl, where
we media participants dressed in protective gowns to keep the spacecraft free
of dirt, grime and germs from the human workers and visitors to prevent any
degradation in data gathering by the state of the art science instruments  and keep them in tip top shape.

GOES-S belongs to a new
constellation of powerful weather satellites in the advanced GOES-R series that
“are bringing the nation a new capability .. that’s a dramatic leap .. to scan
the entire hemisphere in about 5 minutes,” the NOAA GOES-S team said during a
briefing in the Astrotech cleanroom. “It’s a very exciting time.”

“GOES-S [as part of the advanced
GOES-R series] has both weather and space weather detection capabilities!” Tim
Gasparrini,
GOES-S program
manager for Lockheed Martin, told Space Up Close during a cleanroom interview
at Astrotech.

Liftoff of the NOAA/NASA GOES-S geostationary weather
observation satellite is scheduled for
March 1, 2018, near sunset at 5:02 p.m. EST aboard a United Launch Alliance
(ULA) Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex-41 on Cape Canaveral Air Force
Station in Florida.

The launch window extends for a two
hours from 5:02 – 7:02 p.m. EST.

The NASA/NOAA Geostationary Operational Environmental
Satellite-S (GOES-S) is being processed
by technicians and engineers
in the c
lean
room at
Astrotech Space Operations, in Titusville, FL, on Jan. 16, in advance of nose cone encapsulation for
planned launch on a ULA Atlas V slated for Mar. 1, 2018.  GOES-S belongs to new constellation of America’s
most advanced weather satellites.
Credit: Ken
Kremer/SpaceUpClose.com/kenkremer.com



GOES-S, which stands for Geostationary
Operational Environmental Satellite–S, is a new and advanced transformational
weather satellite that will vastly enhance the quality, speed and accuracy of
weather forecasting available to forecasters for Earth’s Western Hemisphere.


“The GOES-S satellite will join GOES-16 and NOAA-20 as NOAA continues to upgrade its satellite fleet,”
said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, in a statement. “The latest GOES
addition will provide further insight and unrivaled accuracy into severe
weather systems and wildfires in the western United States.”

GOES-S was built by prime contractor
Lockheed Martin
Space Systems,
Littleton, Colorado.  It was
flown cross country aboard a U.S. Air Force C-5M Super Galaxy cargo transport
and arrived at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Shuttle Landing Facility on Dec. 4,
2017.

After touchdown
at KSC the 11,400 pound (5100 kg) GOES-S spacecraft was then transported by
truck to
Astrotech
Space Operations in Titusville, Florida for some two months of processing by
engineers and technicians
at Astrotech.  

The team
carried out additional testing, check out and verification of the spacecraft
systems and science instruments by technicians working inside the huge high bay
cleanroom
processing facility at Astrotech.  After
all that work was satisfactorily completed the probe was encapsulated inside
the Atlas rockets payload fairing halves.

Astrotech is located just a few
miles down the road from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center and the KSC Visitor
Complex housing the finest exhibits of numerous spaceships, hardware items and
space artifacts.



The NASA/NOAA Geostationary
Operational Environmental Satellite-S (GOES-S) is being processed
in
the c
lean room at Astrotech Space Operations, in
Titusville, FL, on Jan. 16, in advance of planned launch on a ULA Atlas V slated
for Mar. 1, 2018.  GOES-S
belongs to new constellation of America’s most advanced weather satellites.
Credit: Ken
Kremer/SpaceUpClose.com/kenkremer.com

The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite
Program (GOES) system consists of a series of
geostationary
weather observation satellites orbiting
more than 22,000 miles above Earth developed for the nation as part of a cooperative joint effort between NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA).
GOES-S is the second in the new
GOES-R series of America’s most powerful and most advanced next generation geostationary weather observation
satellites.  It is designed to last for a
15 year orbital lifetime and will deliver a ‘quantum leap’ in weather
forecasting. 
The first satellite in the series
called GOES-R went through a similar processing phase at Astrotech as I
observed in the Astrotech cleanroom at that time in September 2016.
GOES-R was successfully launched by
a ULA Atlas V on
Nov.
19, 2016.
The NASA/NOAA Geostationary
Operational Environmental Satellite-S (GOES-S) is being processed in the c
lean room at Astrotech
Space Operations, in Titusville, FL, on Jan. 16, in advance of planned launch
on a ULA Atlas V slated for Mar. 1, 2018. 
GOES-S belongs to new constellation of America’s most
advanced weather satellites.
Credit: Ken
Kremer/SpaceUpClose.com/kenkremer.com

 “The GOES-R series have both weather and space
weather detection capabilities!” Tim Gasparrini
told Space UpClose during a cleanroom
interview.
Together
they will “significantly improve the detection and observation of environmental
phenomena that directly affect public safety, protection of property and the
nation’s economic health and prosperity,” according to a NASA/NOAA description.
The GOES-R series (including GOES-S)
science suite includes the Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI),
Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM),
Solar Ultraviolet Imager (SUVI), Extreme Ultraviolet and X-Ray Irradiance
Sensors (EXIS), Space Environment In-Situ Suite (SEISS), and the Magnetometer
(MAG). 





Up close view of
the
Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) and Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) attached to the top
of the
NASA/NOAA Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-S
(GOES-S) in the c
lean
room at
Astrotech Space Operations, in Titusville, FL, on Jan. 16,
2018. Launch on Atlas V rocket targeted for Mar. 1, 2018.
Credit: Ken
Kremer/SpaceUpClose.com/kenkremer.com


                             
ABI is the
primary instrument and will collect
3
times more spectral data with 4 times greater resolution and scans 5 times
faster than ever before – via the primary Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI)
instrument – compared to the current GOES satellites.
So instead of seeing weather as it
was, viewers will see weather as it is.
Whereas the current GOES-NOP imagers
scan the full hemispheric disk in 26 minutes, the new GOES-ABI can
simultaneously scan the Western Hemisphere every 15 minutes, the Continental
U.S. every 5 minutes and areas of severe weather every 30-60 seconds. 
GOES satellites
are designated with a letter prior to launch and a number once they achieve
geostationary orbit.
GOES-R, the
first satellite in the series, was renamed GOES-16. GOES-16 recently took its
place as NOAA’s GOES-East satellite, “keeping an eye on the continental United
States and the Atlantic Ocean.”
Upon reaching
geostationary orbit the name will chance and i
t
will be known as GOES-17 and GOES-West. TV viewers are presently accustomed to
seeing daily streams of imagery from the GOES-East and GOES-West weather
observation satellites currently in orbit.
 GOES-S will be designated GOES-17. After a period of on-orbit test and
checkout, GOES-17 will become operational as GOES-West, providing coverage of
the western U.S., Alaska, Hawaii and the Pacific Ocean.
The newly operational
GOES-17 will join GOES-16/GOES-East to give the Western Hemisphere two
next-generation geostationary environmental satellites. Together, GOES-16 and
GOES-17 will observe Earth from the west coast of Africa all the way to Guam.



The NASA/NOAA/Lockheed Martin/Harris
GOES-S
 team
gives a big thumbs up for the dramatic leap in capability this next gen weather
observation satellite will provide to the Western US – during media briefing at
Astrotech Space Operations,
in
Titusville, FL on Jan. 16, 2018. Ken Kremer/SpaceUpClose.com/kenkremer.com



What’s the big deal about GOES-R/GOES-S?

As they are starting to with the
newly upgraded GOES-16/GOES-East, audiences will notice big changes from GOES-S
once it becomes operational because it will provide images of weather patterns
and severe storms as regularly as every five minutes or as frequently as every
30 seconds.
 “These images can be used to aid in weather
forecasts, severe weather outlooks, watches and warnings, lightning conditions,
maritime forecasts and aviation forecasts.”
“It also will assist in longer term
forecasting, such as in seasonal predictions and drought outlooks. In addition,
space weather conditions will be monitored constantly, including the effects of
solar flares to provide advance notice of potential communication and
navigation disruptions. It also will assist researchers in understanding the
interactions between land, oceans, the atmosphere and climate.”
“This is a very exciting time,” the
NOAA GOES-S team explained  during the
Astrotech cleanroom briefing.
“This is the culmination of about 15
years of intense work for the great team of NOAA and NASA and our contractors
Lockheed Martin and Harris.”  
“We are bringing the nation a new
capability.  The GOES program has been
around for about 40 years and most every American sees it every night on the
weather broadcasts when they see the satellite imagery.  And what’s really exciting is that for the
first time in that 40 years we are really end to end replacing the entire GOES system.
The weather community is really excited about what we are bringing.”
“It’s a dramatic leap in capability
– like moving from black and white TV to HDTV.”
“We will be able to scan the entire
hemisphere in about 5 minutes and do things so much faster with double the
resolution.”
The gigantic
school bus sized satellite
is equipped with
a suite of six instruments or sensors that are the most advanced of their kind.
They will be used for three types of observations:
Earth sensing, solar imaging, and space
environment measuring.  They will point
to the Earth, the Sun and the in-situ environment of the spacecraft.
The suite includes the Advanced
Baseline Imager (ABI),
Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM), Solar Ultraviolet Imager (SUVI), Extreme
Ultraviolet and X-Ray Irradiance Sensors (EXIS), Space Environment In-Situ
Suite (SEISS), and the Magnetometer (MAG). 
The two Earth-pointing instruments
are on the top of the spacecraft – namely ABI and GLM.
“ABI is the
premier instrument on the spacecraft. When you turn on the news and see a
severe storm picture, that’s the one it comes from. It takes pictures in the
visible as well as the infrared (IR), near infrared (IR),” said Gasparrini.
“It is looking
for things like moisture, vegetation, aerosols and fire. So it looks across a
broad spectrum to determine the environmental conditions on Earth.” 
ABI offers 3 times more spectral channels with 4 times greater
resolution and scans 5 times faster than ever before, compared to the current
GOES satellites.
The GOES-S ABI will view the Earth
with 16 different spectral bands (compared to five on current/legacy GOES),
including two visible channels, four near-infrared channels, and ten infrared
channels, according to the mission fact sheet.
It will also carry only the second
ever operational lightning mapper ever flown in space – GLM – built by Lockheed
Martin.  The first one was on the GOES-R twin
sister observatory.  It has a
single-channel, near-infrared optical transient detector.
“This is the first lightning mapper
in space and at geostationary orbit.”
“GLM takes a picture of a scene on
the Earth 500 times per second. And it compares those images for a change in
the scene that can detect lightning, using an algorithm,” Gasparrini told me.
“The importance of that is lightning
is a precursor to severe weather. So they are hoping that GLM will up to double
the tornado warning time.  So instead of
10 minutes warning you get 20 minutes warning, 
for example.”  
GLM will measure total lightning
(in-cloud, cloud-to-cloud and cloud-to-ground) activity continuously over the
Americas and adjacent ocean regions with near-uniform spatial resolution of
approximately 10 km.
“The two solar pointing instruments
are located on a platform that constantly points them at the sun – SUVI (built
by Lockheed Martin) and EXIS.  SUVI looks
at the sun in the ultraviolet and EXIS looks at the x-ray wavelengths.”
The instruments work in concert.
“SUVI detects a solar flare on the
sun and EXIS measures the intensity of the flare.  As it comes towards the Earth, NOAA then uses
the DSCOVR satellite [launched in 2016] as sort of a warning buoy about 30
minutes before the Earth. This gives a warning that a geomagnetic storm is
heading toward the Earth.”
“When the storm reaches the Earth,
the magnetometer instrument (MAG) on GOES-R then measures the influence of the
magnetic storm on the magnetic field of the Earth.”
“Then the SEISS instrument, a
charged particle detector, measures the charged particle effect of the storm on
the Earth at geostationary orbit.”
“So GOES-R and S have both weather
and space weather detection capabilities!” Gasparini elaborated.   

GOES-S weather observation satellite
instrument suite graphic. Credit: NASA/NOAA

The gigantic school bus sized satellite measures  6.1 m x 5.6 m x 3.9 m (20.0 ft x 18.4 ft x
12.8 ft) with a
three-axis
stabilized spacecraft bus.

It has a dry mass of 2,857 kg (6,299 lbs) and a fueled mass of 5,192 kg
(11,446 lbs) at launch.

The instruments
are very sensitive to contamination and the team is taking great care to limit
particulate and molecular contaminants in the cleanroom.  Some of the instruments have contamination
budget limits of less than 10 angstroms – smaller than the diameter of a
typical molecule.  So there can’t even be
a single layer of molecules on the instruments surface after 15 years on
orbit.  

Up close visit by
Ken Kremer/SpaceUpClose to
NASA/NOAA Geostationary Operational
Environmental Satellite-S (GOES-S) being processed
in
the c
lean
room at
Astrotech Space Operations, in Titusville, FL, on Jan. 16,
2018. Launch on Atlas V rocket targeted for Mar. 1, 2018.
Credit: Ken
Kremer/SpaceUpClose.com/kenkremer.com

GOES-S can
also multitask according to a NASA/NOAA factsheet.

“It can scan the Western Hemisphere
every 15 minutes, the Continental U.S. every 5 minutes and areas of severe
weather every 30-60 seconds. All at the same time!”

GOES-S will blastoff on a ULA Atlas
V in the very powerful 541 configuration, augmented by four solid rocket
boosters on the first stage.
  The payload
fairing is 5 meters (16.4 feet) in diameter and the upper stage is powered
by a single-engine Centaur. 

It will be launched to a Geostationary
orbit some 22,300 miles above Earth.

The Atlas V booster has been
assembled inside the Vertical Integration Facility (VIF) at SLC-41 and will be
rolled out to the launch pad Wednesday morning, Feb. 28 with the GOES-S weather
satellite encapsulated inside the nose cone.

The weather forecast shows a 80
percent chance of favorable weather conditions for Thursday’s near sunset
blastoff. 

 Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX,
ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Orbital ATK and more
space and mission
reports direct from the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force
Station, Florida.

Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing
Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news: www.kenkremer.com –www.spaceupclose.com –
twitter @ken_kremer –
ken
at kenkremer.com





The launch of NOAA’s Geostationary Operational Environmental
Satellite-S (GOES-S) is scheduled for March 1 from Cape Canaveral Air Force
Station in Florida. NASA oversees the acquisition of the spacecraft,
instruments and launch vehicles for the GOES-R Series program.  Credit: NASA/NOAA

………….

Ken’s upcoming outreach events:

Learn more about the upcoming GOES-S
weather satellite launch,
SpaceX Falcon Heavy
and Falcon 9 SES-16/GovSat-1 launches on Jan. 30 & Feb. 6, NASA missions,
ULA Atlas & Delta launches, SpySats and more at Ken’s upcoming outreach
events at Kennedy Space Center Quality Inn, Titusville, FL:

Feb 27/28: “GOES-S weather satellite launch, SpaceX
Falcon Heavy & Falcon 9 launches, ULA Atlas USAF SBIRS GEO 4 missile
warning satellite, SpaceX GovSat-1, CRS-14 resupply launches to the ISS, NRO
& USAF Spysats, SLS, Orion, Boeing and SpaceX Commercial crew capsules, ,
OSIRIS-Rex, Juno at Jupiter, InSight Mars lander, Curiosity and Opportunity
explore Mars, NH at Pluto and more,” Kennedy Space Center Quality Inn,
Titusville, FL, evenings. Photos for sale


Space Journalists including Ken Kremer/SpaceUpClose observe the NASA/NOAA
Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-S (GOES-S) being processed
in
the c
lean
room at
Astrotech Space Operations, in Titusville, FL, on Jan. 16,
2018.
Credit: Ken
Kremer/SpaceUpClose.com/kenkremer.com
Tim Gasparinni, GOES-R series program manager for Lockheed Martin, and Ken Kremer/University Today pose with GOES-R revolutionary weather satellite inside Astrotech Space Operations cleanroom, in Titusville, FL, and built by NASA/NOAA/Lockheed Martin/Harris. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com


Ken Kremer

Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and more space and mission reports direct from Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Stay tuned here for Ken's continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news. Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics. Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events.

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