"The spacecraft, the Atlas V rocket and range equipment are all ready and the combined government and contractor launch team is prepared to launch GOES-S", NASA Launch Director Tim Dunn said Tuesday at Kennedy Space Center.
GOES S mission managers confirmed at 8:58 p.m. EST the spacecraft's solar arrays successfully deployed and the spacecraft was operating on its own power.
The launch was managed by the National administration oceanic and atmospheric administration (NOAA) and NASA.
The launch of the new satellite will be streamed on the FOX31 and Channel 2 Facebook pages. The first GOES satellite was launched in November 2016.
The new satellite will be called GOES-West when it becomes operational later this year.
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Riding a 1.4-million-pound mobile launch platform, the Atlas 5 emerged from the Vertical Integration Facility around 10 a.m. EST (1500 GMT) Wednesday for the trip to nearby Complex 41.
About three-and-a-half hours after the Atlas V rocket delivers the GOES weather satellite into space, the rocket should release it, and then it should enter a temporary elliptical orbit, officials explained. GOES-16 also observed the uncertain path of Hurricanes Irma and the rapidly intensifying Hurricane Maria in September.
The satellite will provide faster, more accurate and more detailed data, in near real-time, to track storm systems, lightning, wildfires, coastal fog and other hazards that affect the western United States.
The satellite will be able to scan each spot below it every 5 minutes, or every 1 minute to 30 seconds on special focus areas - in the latter case, for developing weather events. NOAA, NASA, universities and private sector researchers will use the data and results to craft the next GOES series. "It allows the researchers to see the dynamics in a way that just looking at numbers just doesn't reveal - the visual impact is remarkable". After GOES-S reaches its orbit in two weeks, its name will change to GOES-17 as it will be the 17th in its series since October 1975. Development began in 2005, and the program will extend through 2036.
Two more satellites are part of this mission and scheduled for launch in 2020 and 2024.