GOES-T launch preparations underway – SpaceNews

WASHINGTON — Preparations are underway for the launch of the following in a sequence of geostationary climate satellites that will even mark the tip of a decades-long streak for one firm.

At a briefing organized by the Nationwide Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Feb. 1, representatives of a number of companies and corporations mentioned they have been on monitor for a March 1 launch of the GOES-T climate satellite tv for pc on an Atlas 5 from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The spacecraft, the third of 4 within the GOES-R sequence, will exchange GOES-17 on the GOES-West orbital location in geostationary orbit at 137 levels west.

Scott Messer, program supervisor for NASA launch providers at United Launch Alliance, mentioned the corporate had began stacking the Atlas 5 that may launch GOES-T. The spacecraft, encapsulated inside its five-meter payload fairing, is scheduled to be put in on the rocket Feb. 15 for remaining assessments earlier than rollout and launch.

The launch marketing campaign for GOES-T might be just like its two predecessors, GOES-R and GOES-S, which additionally launched on the 541 model of the Atlas 5 with 4 solid-fuel boosters. Messer mentioned there might be some minor changes on this launch to enhance its accuracy and lengthen the lifetime of GOES-T by decreasing the quantity of propellant the spacecraft itself makes use of to succeed in geostationary orbit.

“With every successive GOES satellite tv for pc, now we have gone by way of a strategy of optimizing the trajectory that we fly so as to present a greater injection orbit to permit extra spacecraft life,” he mentioned. “On this case, we have been capable of do one thing that gave the spacecraft one other 4 or 5 years’ value of lifetime.”

The GOES-T launch continues a streak for ULA and the 2 automobile households it inherited when the three way partnership was created greater than 15 years in the past. “ULA and our heritage launch automobiles, Atlas and Delta, have launched each GOES satellite tv for pc that’s ever been launched,” Messer mentioned. That dates again to the launch of GOES-A on a Delta rocket in 1975.

That streak, although, ends with GOES-T. NASA introduced in September it awarded a contract to SpaceX for the ultimate spacecraft within the GOES-R sequence, GOES-U, slated for launch in April 2024 on a Falcon Heavy. ULA mentioned it withdrew its bid as a result of all of its remaining Atlas 5 automobiles had been assigned to different launches as the corporate prepares to transition to the Vulcan Centaur.

GOES-T, which might be renamed GOES-18 after launch, might be rushed into service to exchange GOES-17 due to issues with that spacecraft’s major instrument, the Superior Baseline Imager (ABI). After two months of checkouts at 89.5 levels west in GEO, the spacecraft will drift to the GOES-West slot for added assessments. Dan Lindsey, GOES-R program scientist at NOAA, mentioned he anticipated GOES-18 to formally exchange GOES-17 because the operational GOES-West satellite tv for pc in early 2023.

Larry Crawford, program supervisor for ABI at its producer, L3Harris, mentioned the corporate redesigned the instrument to keep away from the blockages in its radiator by international object particles, or FOD, that the model of the instrument on GOES-17 suffered. “The {hardware} that we decided was the most definitely trigger for that FOD has been eradicated from the design,” he mentioned. “That design has been completely reviewed and extensively examined.”

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