ULA launches new GOES-R weather satellite for Nasa and NOAA
A new Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite R-series (GOES-R) satellite has been successfully launched into space from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, US.
The satellite was launched by a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket on behalf of Nasa and the US National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Following the lift-off, the satellite was placed in its geosynchronous transfer orbit and would reach its designated orbit in a period of the next two weeks.
Built by Lockheed Martin, GOES-R is the first of four next-generation geostationary weather satellites, which are designed to provide images of weather patterns and storms in every 30s.
Once fully operational, GOES-R will also improve the quality, quantity and timeliness of weather data collected over the Western Hemisphere.
Data to be provided by the satellite will be used to provide short-term forecasts, severe storm warnings, maritime forecasts, seasonal predictions, and space weather alerts.
GOES-R is equipped with a large solar array, which provides its electrical power and will facilitate communications with mission operators.
Lockheed Martin Space Systems GOES-R vice-president and programme manager Tim Gasparrini said: "GOES-R will substantially improve our nation's weather and space weather prediction capability.
"This is a prime example of how our expertise in spacecraft development, earth instruments and space-science instruments can combine to save lives and property."
The company is also involved in the designing, building and testing of other satellites of the GOES-R series, which is funded, managed and operated by NOAA.
Nasa looks after the acquisition and development of the GOES-R spacecraft, instruments and launch vehicle.
The agency noted that after reaching its final designated orbit, GOES-R will be renamed GOES-16.
Image: A GOES-R lifted off by a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. Photo: courtesy of Lockheed Martin.