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NOAA’s GOES-T Satellite Arrives in Florida Ahead of 2022 Launch

November 10, 2021

NOAA’s GOES-T, the third in the GOES-R Series of advanced weather observing and environmental monitoring satellites, arrived in Florida today to begin final preparations for launch, which is currently scheduled for March 1, 2022.

Shipping a satellite is no small feat. GOES-T is the size of a small school bus and weighs over 6,000 pounds! The spacecraft team at Lockheed Martin in Littleton, Colorado, where GOES-T was built, carefully packed the satellite in a special shipping container that protected its sensitive instruments and functioned as a miniature clean room during transport. GOES-T was then driven to Buckley Space Force Base in Aurora, Colorado, where it hitched a ride aboard a C-5 Super Galaxy aircraft to Kennedy Space Center.

GOES-T being unloaded from C-5M Super Galaxy cargo plane at the Kennedy Space Center
The GOES-T satellite is unloaded from the C-5 Super Galaxy cargo aircraft that flew it to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Nov. 10, 2021. Credit: Dan Lindsey

 

GOES-T was then transported to a clean room at the Astrotech Space Operations spacecraft processing facility in nearby Titusville, where it was unpacked. The satellite will now undergo final preparations for an early 2022 launch from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. GOES-T will launch aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 541 rocket from Space Launch Complex-41.

Upon reaching geostationary orbit after launch, GOES-T will be renamed GOES-18. After it completes checkout of its instruments and systems, the new satellite will go into operation as GOES West, replacing the current GOES-17. In the GOES West position, GOES-18 will watch over the U.S. West Coast, Alaska, Hawaii, Mexico, Central America, and the Pacific Ocean extending to Guam. The satellite will be ideally located to detect and monitor weather systems and environmental hazards that most affect this region of the Western Hemisphere, including wildfires, atmospheric rivers, coastal fog, dust storms, and volcanic eruptions. GOES-18 will also monitor the sun for solar eruptions and detect space weather hazards that can disrupt communications, navigation systems, and power utilities on Earth.

NOAA oversees the GOES-R Series Program through an integrated NOAA-NASA office, operating the satellites, managing the ground system, and distributing the satellite data to users worldwide. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center oversees the acquisition of the GOES-R spacecraft and instruments and NASA’s Launch Services Program, based at Kennedy Space Center, launches the satellites. Lockheed Martin designs, builds, and tests the GOES-R Series satellites. L3Harris Technologies provides the main instrument payload, the Advanced Baseline Imager, along with the ground system, which includes the antenna system for data reception.

Enjoy some photo postcards of GOES-T's journey

 

GOES-T Departs Lockheed Martin Space Systems via Truck

GOES-T being driven to Buckley Space Force Base in Colorado, where it will be flown to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida
GOES-T departs Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Littleton, Colorado on Nov. 9, 2021, encased in its special shipping container onboard an 18-wheeler. It will be driven to Buckley Space Force Base in Aurora to meet its ride to Florida. Credit: NASA/Elizabeth Wilk

 

Crews Prepare to Load GOES-T Into C-5 Super Galaxy Cargo Jet 

GOES-T being loaded onto a C-5M Super Galaxy aircraft that will fly it to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
After a careful ride on a truck from Lockheed Martin, crews prepare to load GOES-T into a U.S. Air Force C-5 Super Galaxy aircraft at Buckley Space Force Base in Aurora on Nov. 9, 2021. Credit: NASA/Elizabeth Wilk

 

GOES-T Is Loaded Inside the Cargo Plane

GOES-T being loaded onto a C-5M Super Galaxy aircraft that will fly it to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The truck towing GOES-T carefully backs it into the belly of the U.S. Air Force C-5 Super Galaxy transport at Buckley Space Force Base in Aurora on Nov. 9, 2021. The satellite will then be flown to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Credit: NASA/Elizabeth Wilk

 

The GOES-T Satellite is Unloaded from the Cargo Plane after Arriving at the Kennedy Space Center

After arriving at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, technicians slowly bring GOES-T off the plane for a short drive to Astrotech Space Operations in Titusville.
After arriving at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Nov. 10, 2021, technicians slowly bring GOES-T off the aircraft for a short drive to Astrotech Space Operations in Titusville. Credit: NASA/Elizabeth Wilk

 

GOES-T Arrives at Astrotech Space Operations

GOES-T arrives at Astrotech Space Operations in Titusville.
GOES-T arrives at Astrotech Space Operations in Titusville, Florida. Here, it will be removed from its shipping container to be inspected. Credit: NASA/Elizabeth Wilk

 

GOES-T is Brought into Astrotech's Payload Processing Facility

GOES-T is brought into Astrotech's payload processing facility
The GOES-T satellite is carefully brought inside Astrotech Space Operations' payload processing facility, where it will be taken out of its shipping container and inspected. Credit: NASA/Elizabeth Wilk

 

Crews Prepare to Open GOES-T's Shipping Container

Crews carefully bring GOES-T is into Astrotech's payload processing facility
Crews bring GOES-T into a clean room at Astrotech Space Operations' payload processing facility and prepare to remove it from its shipping container for inspection. Credit: NASA/Elizabeth Wilk

 

GOES-T's Shipping Container is Opened

GOES-T's shipping container is opened
Staff open GOES-T's shipping container within a clean room at Astrotech Space Operations' payload processing facility. Credit: NASA/Elizabeth Wilk

 

Technicians Begin Conducting Initial Inspection of GOES-T

Staff inspects GOES-T after it's shipping container has been opened.
Technicians take a first look at GOES-T once the cover of its shipping container has been removed. Credit: NASA/Elizabeth Wilk

 

GOES-T is Set Up on a Stand

GOES-T is propped up to be more closely inspected.
Technicians set GOES-T's chassis up on a stand within the clean room at Astrotech Space Operations' payload processing facility. Credit: NASA/Elizabeth Wilk

 

Earth from Orbit: GOES-T Arrives at Kennedy Space Center

NOAA’s GOES-T, the third in the GOES-R Series of advanced weather observing and environmental monitoring satellites, arrived in Florida on Nov. 10, 2021 to begin final preparations for launch, which is currently scheduled for March 1, 2022.

Stay informed as GOES-T moves closer to launch by visiting the GOES-T launch page.