United Launch Alliance (ULA) is in the final stages of readying its GOES-S spacecraft at Space Launch Complex 41 (SLC-41) of the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS). The GOES-S (Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite) presently has a 2-hour liftoff window on March 1, starting at 5:02 PM EST or 22:02 GMT.
It is a collaborative mission by NOAA and NASA to provide enhanced weather data for climate scientists and forecasters. The mission is based on the Lockheed Martin A2100 satellite bus and already has three active GOES satellites and the GOES-S standing by.
Joining its GOES-16 stablemate in earth’s orbit, GOES-S will cover the Western Hemisphere’s weather. It will be given the operational destination of GOES-17 as it reaches the orbit slot. The slot is at 137 degrees West, that’s about 35,888 km or 22,300 miles above the equator.
Like the GOES-16, the GOES-S is as well equipped with advanced weather-detection gear, having the ability to provide ‘three times more channels of data than the satellites it is replacing.’ The instrument is built by Harris Environmental Solutions.
Another instrument it carries is the GLM or Geostationary Lightning Mapper which can monitor the discharge of lightning. Its purpose is to provide data for meteorologists so that they can forecast severe weather. This will naturally help us further in staying ahead against natural calamities as much as possible, enhancing accuracy in predicting damaging weather formation.
GOES-S will as well observe the nearest stellar neighbor of the earth using a pair of instruments aimed at the sun. These are Solar Ultraviolet Imager (SUVI) and Extreme Ultraviolet and X-Ray Irradiance Sensors (EXIS).
There will be another pair of instruments to monitor conditions around the spacecraft itself. These are magnetometer (MAG) and Space Environment En-Situ Suite (SEISS). These have the purpose of providing critical data for the safety of astronauts, the operation of satellites, and the power utilities of the earth.
The western part of the USA, specifically Alaska and its subordinate regions, will benefit via weather and wildfire forecasts, matching the similar scales of the eastern part of the country, by the NASA satellite launch GOES-S.
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