Powerful GOES-U Weather Satellite Cleared for June  25 Launch on SpaceX Falcon Heavy Rocket 

The countdown is on for the launch of a remarkable U.S. weather satellite. GOES-U, the fourth  and final member of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA)  GOES-R series of next-generation weather satellites, has been given the green light for its  planned liftoff on Tuesday, June 25. This critical mission aims to enhance our understanding  of Earth’s weather patterns and environmental phenomena. 

The GOES-U Mission 

Sophisticated Weather Observation: GOES-U is part of the Geostationary Operational  Environmental Satellites (GOES) network, which provides advanced imagery and atmospheric  measurements. It plays a crucial role in monitoring weather events, including severe storms,  hurricanes, and other natural phenomena. 

Real-Time Mapping of Lightning Activity: One of GOES-U’s key features is its ability to track  lightning activity across the Western Hemisphere. This real-time data is invaluable for early  warning systems and disaster preparedness. 

Space Weather Observations: Beyond Earth’s atmosphere, GOES-U will also monitor space  weather, including solar flares and geomagnetic storms. These observations are essential for  protecting satellites, communication systems, and astronauts in space. 

GOES-U is a weather satellite, and it’s the fourth and final member of the Geostationary  Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES)-R series operated by the National Oceanic and  Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Let’s dive into some key details: 

Mission Overview

  • GOES-U is part of the GOES-R series, which aims to extend the availability of the  Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) system until 2036.
  • Its primary mission is to enhance weather observation and environmental monitoring  across the Western Hemisphere. 

Technical Details: 

  • Manufacturer: Lockheed Martin 
  • Platform: Built on the A2100 platform 
  • Launch Mass: Approximately 5,000 kg (11,023 lb) 
  • Dry Mass: 2,925 kg (6,449 lb) (without fuel) 
  • Launch Vehicle: GOES-U will ride atop a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket. • Launch Date: The planned launch date is June 25, 2024, from Kennedy Space Center,  Florida, United States. 

Scientific Instruments

  • GOES-U will carry a copy of the Naval Research Laboratory’s Compact CORonagraph  (CCOR) instrument. Along with the CCOR planned for Space Weather Follow On Lagrange 1 (SWFO-L1), it will allow continued monitoring of solar wind after the  retirement of the NASA-ESA SOHO satellite in 2025.

The Launch Details 

  • Launch Vehicle: GOES-U will ride atop a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket, one of the most  powerful launch vehicles currently in operation. This marks the Falcon Heavy’s 10th  launch overall. 
  • Launch Window: The two-hour launch window opens at 5:16 p.m. EDT (2116 GMT) on  Tuesday. However, the success of the launch depends on Mother Nature’s cooperation.  Launch weather officers estimate a 70% probability of violation, meaning there’s a 30%  chance of favourable weather conditions. 
  • Launch Site: The spacecraft will take off from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy  Space Center on Florida’s Space Coast. 
  • Payload Protection: GOES-U will be fully loaded with the second stage of the rocket  and a protective payload at the top. This precaution ensures the satellite’s safety during  its journey through space. 

Live Coverage 

  • Watch Online: The launch will be broadcast live on Space.com starting at 3 p.m. EDT (12:30  a.m. IST). Tune in to witness this historic event. 
  • Official SpaceX Profile: For additional coverage and insights, follow @SpaceX on social media. 

As we prepare for GOES-U’s liftoff, scientists, meteorologists, and space enthusiasts eagerly  await the valuable data it will provide. From tracking hurricanes to monitoring space weather,  GOES-U promises to be an indispensable asset for Earth and beyond. 


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