Saturday, June 20, 2009

GOES-O Miossion Overview

Saturday, June 20, 2009

GOES-O Stacked for Flight

Image above: The Delta IV rocket and its GOES-O satellite payload have been joined at Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida in preparation for flight. The Delta IV will loft the weather satellite into an orbit more than 22,000 miles above Earth where the GOES-O instruments can focus on weather and climate. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

Launch Date Moves to June 26

The GOES-O launch aboard a Delta IV rocket from Space Launch Complex 37 currently is scheduled for June 26. The launch window runs from 6:14 p.m. to 7:14 p.m. EDT. Recent production lot testing of the linear shape charge system has indicated the need to incorporate minor design changes to assure their reliability. The linear shape charge is a component of the Range Safety command destruct system. There are three linear shape charges on this Delta IV which will require a modification. Schedules are being developed for the qualification and implementation of the design modification.

GOES Overview

Artist's concept of GOES-O in orbit.
Image credit: NASA/Honeywell Tech Solutions, C. Meaney

GOES Mission Overview

The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES)-O represents a continuation of the newest generation of environmental satellites built by Boeing for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) under the technical guidance and project management of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. GOES satellites provide the familiar weather pictures seen on United States television newscasts every day. The GOES imaging and sounding instruments (built by ITT) feature flexible scans for small-scale area viewing in regions of the visible and infrared spectrum allowing meteorologists to improve short-term forecasts. GOES provides nearly continuous imaging and sounding, which allow forecasters to better measure changes in atmospheric temperature and moisture distributions and hence increase the accuracy of their forecasts. GOES environmental information is used for a host of applications, including weather monitoring and prediction models, ocean temperatures and moisture locations, climate studies, cryosphere (ice, snow, glaciers) detection and extent, land temperatures and crop conditions, and hazards detection. The GOES-O&P Imagers have improved resolution in the 13 micrometer channel from 8 km to 4 km. The finer spatial resolution allows an improved cloud-top product, height of atmospheric motion vectors and volcanic ash detection. GOES-O continues the improved image navigation and registration, additional power and fuel lifetime capability, space weather, solar x-ray imaging, search and rescue, and communication services as provided on GOES-13.

GOES-O Launch

Spacecraft: GOES-O
Launch Vehicle: United Launch Alliance Delta IV
Launch Location: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
Launch Pad: Launch Complex 37
Launch Date: June 26, 2009
Launch Window: 6:14 p.m. - 7:14 p.m. EDT

Image above: The Delta IV that is to carry the GOES-O weather satellite into space stands together with its payload at Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Image credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett
› View Hi-Res Image

June 12 Update

At the Astrotech Space Operations Facility on June 7, GOES-O enclosed in the payload fairing was rolled out of its payload processing facility high bay and moved to Launch Complex 37. It arrived at the launch pad on June 8 and was hoisted for mating atop the Delta IV rocket during the overnight hours of June 9. The Interface Verification Test to verify the electrical and mechanical connections between GOES-O and the Delta IV was conducted on June 10. The Flight Program Verification, an integrated countdown and powered flight electrical test involving both the Delta IV and GOES-O, was successfully conducted on June 11.

Also on June 10, the launch vehicle's linear shape charge, part of the flight termination system, successfully completed its testing.

NASA has contracted with Boeing to build and launch the GOES-O spacecraft. The NASA Launch Services Program at Kennedy is supporting the launch in an advisory role. NASA spacecraft project management for GOES-O is the responsibility of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. After launch, once Boeing and NASA have completed on-orbit checkout and the spacecraft is operational, it will be turned over to NOAA.

The latest in a series of weather observation satellites in the GOES series will launch this spring to begin watching atmospheric conditions near and over the United States. The acronym GOES stands for Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites. The GOES-O satellite is the second in a series of three state-of-the-art weather satellites. The satellites provide many of the satellite photos of Earth shown on newscasts in the United States.

› GOES Project
› Watch a Launch
› Launch Locations

Spacecraft and Instruments


GOES N-P is the next series of Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES). The multi-mission GOES series N-P will be a vital contributor to weather, solar, and space operations and science. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are actively engaged in a cooperative program to expand the existing GOES system with the launch of the GOES N-P satellites.

The Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. is responsible for procuring, developing, and testing the spacecraft, instruments and unique ground equipment. NOAA is responsible for overall program, funding, system in-orbit operation, and determining satellite replacement needs.

The GOES N-P series will aid activities ranging from severe storm warnings to resource management and advances in science. GOES N-P data will add to the global community of knowledge, embracing many civil and government environmental forecasting organizations that work to benefit people everywhere and help save lives.

GOES N-P represents the next generation of GOES satellites. A highly advanced attitude control system fosters enhanced instrument performance for improved weather service quality. NASA and NOAA have set a high standard of accuracy for GOES N-P, including data pixel location to two kilometers from geosynchronous orbit.

Roll over the images to see detail of the GOES-O spacecraft and its instruments.

Some of the new top-level capabilities include:

  • A digital Low Rate Information Transmission (LRIT) formatted Weather Facsimile (WEFAX) service
  • Expanded measurements for the Space Environment Monitor (SEM) instruments
  • A new dedicated channel for the Emergency Managers Weather Information Network (EMWIN) service
  • A more stable platform for supporting improved Imager, Sounder, and SXI instruments


GOES-O Imager

The GOES Imager is a multi-channel instrument designed to sense radiant and solar-reflected energy from sampled areas of the Earth. The multi-element spectral channels simultaneously sweep east-west and west-east along a north-to-south path by means of a two-axis mirror scan system. The instrument can produce full-Earth disc images, sector images that contain the edges of the Earth, and various sizes of area scans completely enclosed within the Earth scene using a flexible scan system. Scan selection permits rapid continuous viewing of local areas for monitoring of mesoscale (regional) phenomena and accurate wind determination.

GOES-O Sounder

The GOES Sounder is a 19-channel discrete-filter radiometer covering the spectral range from the visible channel wavelengths to 15 microns. It is designed to provide data from which atmospheric temperature and moisture profiles, surface and cloud-top temperatures, and ozone distribution can be deduced by mathematical analysis. It operates independently of and simultaneously with the Imager, using a similarly flexible scan system. The Sounder's multi-element detector array assemblies simultaneously sample four separate fields or atmospheric columns. A rotating filter wheel, which brings spectral filters into the optical path of the detector array, provides the infrared channel definition.

GOES-O Space Environment Monitor

The Space Environment Monitor (SEM) consists of three instrument groups: 1) an energetic particle sensor (EPS) package, 2) two magnetometer sensors, and 3) a solar x-ray sensor (XRS). Operating at all times, the SEM provides real-time data to the Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) in Boulder, Colorado. The SWPC, as the nation’s "space weather" center, receives, monitors, and interprets a wide variety of solar terrestrial data and issues reports, alerts, warnings, and forecasts for special events such as solar flares and geomagnetic storms. This information is important for military and civilian radio communication, satellite communication and navigation systems, electric power networks, geophysical exploration, Shuttle and Space Station astronauts, high-altitude aviators, commercial airlines especially those using north polar routes, and scientific researchers.

The EPS accurately measures the number of particles over a broad energy range, including protons, electrons, and alpha particles, and are the basis for operational alerts and warnings of hazardous conditions. Energetic particles pose a risk to satellites and to astronauts, and they can disrupt navigation and communications systems used on the ground and in aircraft.

The magnetometer sensors can operate independently and simultaneously to measure the magnitude and direction of the Earth’s geomagnetic field, detect variations in the magnetic field near the spacecraft, provide alerts of solar wind shocks or sudden impulses that impact the magnetosphere, and assess the level of geomagnetic activity. The second magnetometer sensor serves as a backup in case the first magnetometer sensor fails and provides for better calibration of the magnetometer data channel.

The XRS is an x-ray telescope that observes and measures solar x-ray emissions in two ranges—one from 0.05 to 0.3 nanometers (nm) and the second from 0.1 to 0.8 nm. In real-time, it measures the intensity and duration of solar flares in order to provide alerts and warnings of potential geophysical responses, such as changes in ionospheric conditions that can disrupt radio communications and Global Positioning System (GPS) signals.

The five-channel EUV telescope is new on the GOES-NO/P/Q satellites. It measures solar extreme ultraviolet energy in five wavelength bands from 10 nm to 126 nm. The EUV sensor provides a direct measure of the solar energy that heats the upper atmosphere and creates the ionosphere. For GOES-O only, the EUV has the 60 nm and 80 nm wavelength bands deleted and the 10 nm and 30 nm wavelength bands are redundant.

GOES-O Solar X-Ray Imager

The Solar X-Ray Imager (SXI) is essentially a soft X-ray telescope that is used to monitor solar conditions and activity. Every minute the SXI captures an image of the sun's atmosphere in X-rays, providing space weather forecasters with the necessary information in order to determine when to issue forecasts and alerts of conditions that may harm space and ground systems.

GOES-O Science

The GOES-O satellite features an advanced attitude control system using star trackers, a spacecraft optical bench, and improved Imager and Sounder mountings providing enhanced instrument pointing performance for improved image navigation and registration to better locate severe storms and other events important to the NOAA National Weather Service and all of us.

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service (NESDIS) have set a higher standard of location accuracy for the GOES-N-O-P series of satellites, including data picture element (pixel) location to approximately two kilometers from geosynchronous orbit of about 35,780 km (22,233 miles) above the Earth’s surface.

For more information on the GOES-13 improvements to image navigation and registration (INR) being achieved please refer to the paper at the following web site: The paper reports that GOES-13 image navigation and registration performance is "more than 100% improved over the previous generation of GOES satellites and very close to next generation (GOES R) performance specifications."

A movie loop comparison between GOES-12 and GOES-13 is found at the web site:

A comparison there of visible channel images centered over northeastern Minnesota on December 25, 2006, shows the improvement in navigation accuracy with the new GOES-13 satellite. Surface features (such as frozen/snow-covered interior lakes, and the Lake Superior shoreline) appear to have significantly less image-to-image movement on GOES-13 versus GOES-12. This improved navigation will allow for better accuracy of satellite products such as satellite derived winds or atmospheric motion vectors.

The GOES-N-O-P enhanced Image Navigation and Registration (INR) quality of service is further improved by the integrated systems ability to operate through eclipses and improved recovery after station-keeping maneuvers and yaw flips.


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