The GOES-16 spacecraft is designed for 10 years of on-orbit operation preceded by up to five years of on-orbit storage. The spacecraft was built by Lockheed Martin in Colorado.
Watch the assembly of the GOES-16 Spacecraft here:
The Launch Vehicle that will place the GOES-16 into geosynchronous orbit will be an Atlas V 541. The three numbers in the 541 designation signify a payload fairing, or nose cone, that is approximately 5 meters (16.4 feet) in diameter; four solid-rocket boosters fastened alongside the central common core booster; and a one-engine Centaur upper stage.
A launch vehicle is chosen based on how much mass the vehicle can lift into space. A two-stage Atlas V 541 launch vehicle was selected for the GOES-16 launch because it has the right liftoff capability for the heavy weight requirements.
The GOES-16 satellite will weigh 6,173 pounds, or 2,800 kilograms at launch. The launch vehicle is 191 feet tall and will weigh 1.17 million pounds
Stage 1: Atlas V Rocket: Fuel and oxygen tanks that feed an engine for the ascent; powers spacecraft into Earth orbit.
Solid Rocket Motors: Used to increase engine thrust; four total.
Stage 2: Centaur: Fuel and oxidizer and the vehicle's "brains"; fires twice, once to insert the vehicle-spacecraft stack into low Earth orbit.
Payload Fairing: Thin composite or nose cone to protect the spacecraft during the ascent through Earth's atmosphere.
The Advanced Baseline Imager is the primary instrument on GOES-16 for imaging Earth’s weather, climate, oceans and environment. ABI will view the Earth with 16 different spectral bands (compared to five on current GOES) and it will provide three times more spectral information, four times the spatial resolution, and more than five times faster temporal coverage than the current system. Click here to read more about ABI.
The Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) will be the first-ever operational lightning mapper flown from geostationary orbit. GLM maps total lightning (in-cloud, cloud-to-cloud and cloud-to-ground) activity continuously day and night over the Americas and adjacent ocean regions. Research and testing has demonstrated GLM’s potential for improvement in tornado warning lead time. Click here for more information about GLM.
The Extreme Ultraviolet and X-ray Irradiance Sensors (EXIS) detects and monitors solar irradiance in the upper atmosphere. The instrument monitors solar flares that can disrupt communications and degrade navigational accuracy, affecting satellites, high altitude airlines and power grids performance. It also monitors solar variations that directly affect satellite tracking and ionospheric changes which impact communications and navigation operations.. The NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center will rely on the products from the EXIS to issue warnings of potential radio blackouts. This will aid preserving ground-based radio communications and navigation systems. Click here to learn more about EXIS.
The Solar Ultraviolet Imager (SUVI) is a telescope that observes and characterizes coronal holes, solar flares, and coronal mass ejections. SUVI data will enable improved forecasting of space weather and early warnings of possible impacts to the Earth, including disruption of power utilities, communication and navigation systems, and may cause radiation damage to orbiting satellites and the International Space Station. Click here to for more information about SUVI.
The GOES-16 Magnetometer will provide measurements of the space environment magnetic field that controls charged particle dynamics in the outer region of the magnetosphere. These particles can be dangerous to spacecraft and human spaceflight. The geomagnetic field measurements are important for providing alerts and warnings to many customers, including satellite operators and power utilities. Click here to learn more about the Magnetometer.
The Space Environment In-Situ Suite is comprised of four sensors that will monitor proton, electron, and heavy ion fluxes in the magnetosphere from geosynchronous orbit. The information provided by SEISS is critical for assessing radiation hazards to astronauts and satellites and to warn of high flux events, mitigating any damage to radio communication. Data from SEISS will drive solar radiation storm portion of NOAA space weather scales and other alerts and warnings and will improve energetic particle forecasts. Click here to read more about SEISS.
- Remote sensing is the primary GOES-16 mission; however, the satellite will carry additional important payloads.
- Data Collection System (DCS). DCS is a satellite relay system used to collect information from Earth-based data collection platforms that transmit in-situ environmental sensor data from more than 20,000 platforms across the hemisphere.
- GOES-R Rebroadcast (GRB). GRB is the primary space relay of Level 1b products, replacing the GVAR (GOES VARiable) service. GRB will provide full resolution, calibrated, navigated, near real-time direct broadcast data.
- High Rate Information Transmission/Emergency Managers Information Network (HRIT/EMWIN). EMWIN is a direct service that provides users with weather forecasts, warnings, graphics and other information directly from the National Weather Service in near real-time. HRIT service is a new high data rate (400 kpbs) version of today’s Low Rate Information Transmission, broadcasting GOES-R satellite imagery and selected products to remotely-located user terminals.
- Search and Rescue Satellite Aided Tracking (SARSAT). The SARSAT system detects and locates mariners, aviators and other recreational users in distress. GOES-16 will continue the legacy function of the SARSAT system onboard NOAA’s geostationary satellites. The system uses a network of satellites to quickly detect and locate signals from emergency beacons onboard aircraft, vessels and from handheld personal locator beacons. The GOES-16 SARSAT transponder will operate with a lower uplink power than the current system (32 bBm), enabling GOES-16to detect weaker beacon signals.