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NOAA’s GOES-U Arrives in Florida, Prepares for Spring Launch

January 23, 2024
GOES-U on cargo plane at Kennedy

Editor’s Note, March 26, 2024: The launch of GOES-U is now targeted for June 25, 2024.

GOES-U, the last of NOAA’s advanced GOES-R series of satellites, arrived safely this morning at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, to begin final preparations for its upcoming launch.

Shipping a satellite is no small feat. GOES-U 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-U was built, packed the satellite in a high-tech shipping container that protected its sensitive instruments and acted as a mobile clean room during transport. GOES-U was then driven to Buckley Space Force Base in Aurora, Colorado, and loaded on the C-5M Super Galaxy cargo transport that carried it to Florida.

GOES-U landed at the NASA Launch and Landing Facility airstrip at Kennedy Space Center and was transported to the Astrotech Space Operations spacecraft processing facility in nearby Titusville, where it will go through a series of electrical tests to confirm it is working properly and mechanical configurations to prepare it for launch.

GOES-U is scheduled to launch no earlier than April 30, 2024, aboard a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket.

Read more about the GOES-U Road to Launch


View Photos of GOES-U's Journey to the Kennedy Space Center Below


GOES-U Departs Lockheed Martin Space Systems via Truck

GOES-U on truck
GOES-U departs Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Littleton, Colorado on Jan. 22, 2024, 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-U into a C-5 Super Galaxy Cargo Jet 

Cargo plane and GOES-U
After a careful ride on a truck from Lockheed Martin, crews prepare to load GOES-U into a U.S. Air Force C-5 Super Galaxy aircraft at Buckley Space Force Base in Aurora on Jan. 22, 2024. Credit: NASA/Elizabeth Wilk


GOES-U is Loaded Inside the Cargo Plane

GOES-U aboard cargo plane
The truck towing GOES-U 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 Jan. 22, 2024. The satellite will then be flown to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Credit: NASA/Elizabeth Wilk


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

semi-truck hauls GOES-U off cargo plane
After arriving at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Jan. 23, 2024, technicians slowly bring GOES-U off the aircraft for a short drive to Astrotech Space Operations in Titusville. Credit: NASA/Elizabeth Wilk


GOES-U is Brought into Astrotech's Payload Processing Facility

GOES-U and technician
After arrival at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Jan. 23, 2024, NOAA's GOES-U satellite was transported to Astrotech Space Operations in Titusville, Florida. On Jan. 24, GOES-U was carefully removed from its shipping container, inspected, rotated, and placed onto a test stand to begin pre-launch processing. Credit: NASA/Elizabeth Wilk


Technicians Conducting Initial Inspection of GOES-U

GOES-U and technician
GOES-U and technician
Technicians take a first look at GOES-U once the cover of its shipping container has been removed. Credit: NASA/Elizabeth Wilk


GOES-U is Set Up on a Stand

GOES-U on stand
Technicians set GOES-U'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-U Arrives at Kennedy Space Center

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NOAA’s GOES-U, the fourth and final satellite in the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES) – R Series, the Western Hemisphere’s most advanced weather-observing and environmental monitoring system, is entering the final stage of preparations before liftoff. NASA and SpaceX are targeting no earlier than April 30 for the launch of GOES-U on a Falcon Heavy rocket.

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