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NASA and SpaceX Launch NOAA’s Latest Weather Satellite

A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket carrying the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) GOES-U (Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite U) lifts off from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Tuesday, June 25.

Cape Canaveral - Wednesday June 26, 2024: NASA successfully launched the fourth and final satellite in a series of advanced weather satellites for NOAA at 5:26 p.m. EDT Tuesday.

The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite, known as GOES-U, will benefit the nation by providing continuous coverage of weather and hazardous environmental conditions across much of the Western Hemisphere.

The satellite launched on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Mission managers confirmed at 10:18 p.m. the spacecraft’s solar arrays successfully deployed, and the spacecraft was operating on its own power.

“As communities across the country and the world feel the effects of extreme weather, satellites like GOES-U keep a close watch to monitor weather in real time,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “NASA and NOAA have worked together for several decades to bring critical data back down to Earth to prepare for severe storms, fire detection, and much more. This fleet of advanced satellites is strengthening resilience to our changing climate, and protecting humanity from weather hazards on Earth, and in space.”

In addition to its critical role in terrestrial weather prediction, the GOES constellation of satellites helps forecasters predict space weather near Earth that can interfere with satellite electronics, GPS, and radio communications. The GOES-U satellite goes beyond the capabilities of its predecessors with a new space weather instrument, the Compact Coronograph-1, which blocks the Sun’s bright light so scientists can observe the relatively fainter solar atmosphere.

“There are so many applications for GOES data – many of which directly impact our everyday lives here on Earth,” said Nicky Fox, associate administrator, Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “GOES-U will add to the global data record, allowing NASA and NOAA to track changes in our climate and also provide critical information before severe weather and natural disasters strike. NASA looks forward to teaming up with NOAA again as we enter the next generation of Earth-observing satellites.”

Once GOES-U is in a geostationary orbit, about 22,200 miles above Earth, it will be renamed GOES-19. Following a successful orbital checkout of its instruments and systems, GOES-19 will go into service, keeping watch of the weather over most of North America, including the contiguous United States and Mexico, as well as Central and South America, the Caribbean, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west coast of Africa.

“The data that GOES-U will provide is critical to protecting the safety of people in the Western Hemisphere,” said John Gagosian, director, NASA’s Joint Agency Satellite Division. “With this successful launch, forecasters will have a resource to better inform and educate the public.”

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, oversaw the acquisition of the GOES-R series spacecraft and instruments and built the magnetometer for GOES-U and its predecessor, GOES-T. NASA’s Launch Services Program, based at Kennedy, provided launch management for the mission.

The GOES-R Series Program is overseen by NOAA, through an integrated NOAA-NASA office that manages the ground system, operates the satellites, and distributes data to users worldwide. Lockheed Martin designs, builds, and tests the GOES-R series satellites. L3Harris Technologies provides the main instrument payload, the Advanced Baseline Imager and the ground system, which includes the antenna system for data reception.

For more information about GOES, visit:

About GOES-U:
GOES-U is the latest of NOAA’s four advanced geostationary satellites.

After approximately two weeks, GOES-U will reach geostationary orbit at 22,236 miles above Earth and will be renamed GOES-19. Following a thorough checkout and validation of its instruments, the new satellite will shift to the GOES-East position and replace GOES-16 in the mid-2025 time frame.

“GOES-U will combine high definition with advanced speed and precision to the real-time observations it will capture, which will help improve the accuracy and timeliness of our weather forecasts,” said NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad, Ph.D. “Also, this satellite will ensure these critical data are available to NOAA forecasters into the 2030s.”

GOES-U is making history by carrying the first operational satellite solar coronagraph (CCOR-1). This instrument will work in tandem with the satellite’s other solar and space environment technology to detect hazardous space weather that could disrupt power grids, communications and navigation systems.

"GOES is one of the most valuable tools that our meteorologists and hydrologists have in their observational toolbox,” said NOAA National Weather Service Director Ken Graham. “This satellite will add to the current imaging capabilities for hurricanes, fires, severe storms and other life-saving applications, including the new coronagraph that will expand warning lead times for geomagnetic storms.”

GOES-U is also historic because “it completes the GOES-R series of four satellites that were first conceived more than 20 years ago and is expected to operate into the late 2030s,” said Steve Volz, Ph. D., assistant administrator for NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service.

Like the previous satellites in the GOES-R series, GOES-U will provide fast, accurate data for tracking severe storms, tropical systems, destructive wildfires (and the smoke they emit), floods, lightning, snow storms, dense fog and other hazards that threaten the U.S. GOES-U will work in sync with GOES-18, which is perched in the GOES-West position, to observe more than half the globe — from the west coast of Africa to New Zealand, and from Alaska to Antarctica.

About the NOAA-NASA partnership
NOAA oversees the GOES-R Series Program through an integrated NOAA-NASA office, managing the ground system, operating the satellites and distributing their data to users worldwide. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center manages the acquisition of the spacecraft and instruments and also built the Magnetometer instrument for GOES-T and GOES-U.

NASA’s Launch Services Program, based at Kennedy Space Center, manages the launch services for the GOES missions. Lockheed Martin designs, builds and tests the GOES-R series satellites. L3Harris Technologies provides the primary instrument, the Advanced Baseline Imager, along with the ground system, which includes the antenna system for data reception.

Next mission on the horizon
Right now, NOAA and NASA are developing GeoXO (Geostationary Extended Observations), the mission that will follow the GOES-R Series. The GeoXO mission will not only continue and improve on the advanced imagery and lightning detection capabilities of the GOES-R Series, but also will add new observations to monitor the atmosphere, ocean and climate to meet growing environmental and health challenges facing the globe.

The first GeoXO satellite is scheduled to launch in 2032, as the GOES-R Series nears the end of its operational lifetime.

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The GOES-U satellite is the final satellite in the GOES-R series, which serves a critical role in providing continuous coverage of the Western Hemisphere, including monitoring tropical systems in the eastern Pacific and Atlantic oceans.