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NOAA's GOES-R Satellite Solar Array Spreads its Wing

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The solar panel array on NOAA's Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) – R spacecraft has been successfully deployed in a test conducted at Lockheed Martin Corporation in Littleton, Colorado. Click here to watch a video of this deployment test of the solar wing.

Assembled and integrated GOES-R satellite in the clean room. Credit: Lockheed Martin.
Assembled and integrated GOES-R satellite in the clean room. Credit: Lockheed Martin.

The five sections of the solar array resemble a giant black wing. Engineers unfurled the five panels on rails that help simulate deployment in the zero-gravity environment of space. The solar array will generate more than 4,000 watts of power for NOAA's GOES-R satellite once it is launched in 2016. The wing is folded up at launch and deploys once in orbit, where it will rotate once a day to continuously point its solar array photovoltaic cells towards the sun. 

Photovoltaic cells in the solar array derive electricity from sunlight. Photovoltaics is a method that uses semiconductors to convert solar radiation into direct current electricity. The GOES-R photovoltaics in the solar panel array will power the entire satellite including all of the instruments, computers, data processors, attitude-control sensors and actuators, and telecommunications equipment.

Engineers completed the deployment of the Solar Array Wing Assembly including the Solar Pointing Platform in a cleanroom facility where the GOES-R satellite is being assembled.

The GOES-R satellite is slated to launch in 2016. The GOES-R Series is NOAA’s next generation of geostationary Earth-observing systems. The GOES-R program is a collaborative development and acquisition effort between NOAA and NASA. The advanced spacecraft and instrument technology employed by the GOES-R series will provide significant improvements in the detection and observations of environmental phenomena that directly affect public safety, protection of property and our nation’s economic health and prosperity. 

For more information about GOES-R, visit: