GOES-R Satellite Begins Environmental Testing

The GOES-R series of satellites have been produced by the combined efforts of NASA and the NOAA. The goal of the program is to produce, deploy and effectively operate satellites. “The GOES-R series satellites will provide continuous imagery and atmospheric measurements of Earth’s Western Hemisphere and space weather monitoring to provide critical atmospheric, hydrologic, oceanic, climatic, solar and space data,” according to Phys.org.

The GOES-R satellite, which is scheduled to launch in March 2016, is ready for environmental testing. The satellite will be subject to vibration, acoustics and temperature testing. The satellite will also be exposed to harsh environments to prepare it for space.

Environmental testing of the satellite will take place at Lockheed Martin Corporation’s Littleton facility in Colorado. The GOES-R satellite will be placed inside a large vacuum chamber for testing and it will remain inside until the end of the summer.

“During the thermal vacuum test, the satellite is exposed to the extreme hot and cold temperatures it will experience in space as it orbits the Earth with temperatures ranging from minus 15 degrees Celsius to 50 degrees Celsius. The satellite will also undergo vibration testing to simulate the experience of launching into space aboard a rocket, and electromagnetic testing to ensure it is properly protected from electromagnetic phenomena in space, like solar flares,” according to Phys.org.

The satellite is scheduled to launch in March 2016 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida to an Atlas V Launch Vehicle. Once the satellite is launched into the air it will be further known as GOES-16. It will then “immediately be placed in a test location at 89.5 degrees west longitude for an extended checkout period.”

“GOES-R represents a significant improvement over current GOES satellite observations and will provide higher-resolution images of weather patterns and severe storms five times faster than today, which will contribute to more accurate and reliable weather forecasts and severe weather outlooks.  GOES-R’s environmental data products will support short-term weather forecasts and severe storm watches and warnings, maritime forecasts, seasonal predictions, drought outlooks and space weather predictions,” according to Phys.org.

The satellite will also improve hurricane tracking, intense forecasts, aviation flight route planning, solar flare warnings for communication and navigation interruptions, space weather monitoring and increase tornado warning lead time.


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