July 20, 2017 – GOES-S recently completed a review to assess its readiness to enter final testing to ensure the spacecraft can withstand the harsh environments of launch and space. The satellite was cleared to begin electromagnetic testing in August, which will confirm the electromagnetic signals produced by the satellite’s components do not interfere with its operation.
GOES-S has already completed other environmental tests necessary to prepare it for launch. The satellite underwent vibration testing, which simulates the stresses experienced during launch, and shock testing, which replicates the shocks encountered after launch — including during the separation and deployment of solar panels. During acoustic testing, the satellite was subjected to high-intensity horns to simulate the extreme high sound pressure experienced in the launch environment. And during the spring, the satellite also underwent thermal vacuum testing, which subjected it to extreme hot and cold temperatures to simulate the conditions of launch and the space environment.
GOES-S is scheduled to launch in spring 2018, joining GOES-16 (formerly GOES-R) in geostationary orbit to watch over the Western Hemisphere. GOES-16 is slated to move into the GOES-East position once it’s declared operational in November. Positioning satellites in the East and West locations, along with an on-orbit spare, ensures that forecasters get a thorough look at developing weather systems that affect the U.S., from the western Pacific to the coast of Africa.
The GOES-16 satellite was launched on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V on November 19, 2016. Since then, the satellite’s instruments and the data they produce have undergone an extensive engineering checkout and instrument validation period.
GOES-16 was the first in a series of four next-generation geostationary satellites being built by Lockheed Martin. GOES-S is the second in the series. The satellites provide five times faster weather coverage, better data for hurricane tracking and intensity forecasts, real-time mapping of total lightning for improved severe weather forecasts, advanced warning of space weather hazards, and improved transportation safety.
The GOES satellites are a collaboration between NASA and NOAA. The GOES-R series satellites are being built by Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Littleton, Colorado. In addition to the spacecraft, Lockheed Martin also provides the Magnetometer, the Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM), and the Solar Ultra-Violet Imager (SUVI). The University of Colorado Boulder’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) provides the Extreme ultraviolet/X-ray Irradiance Sensors (EXIS).
GOES-S will be followed by the launches of GOES-T and GOES-U, in 2020 and 2024 respectively.