All Instruments For NOAA’s GOES-R Satellite Now Integrated With Spacecraft

The GOES-R Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) is installed onto the GOES-R spacecraft at Lockheed Martin in Littleton, Colorado, on October 13, 2014. The ABI resides on the Earth-Pointing Platform of the spacecraft, along with the Geostationary Lightning Mapper. Image Credit: Lockheed Martin

The GOES-R Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) is installed onto the GOES-R spacecraft at Lockheed Martin in Littleton, Colorado, on October 13, 2014. The ABI resides on the Earth-Pointing Platform of the spacecraft, along with the Geostationary Lightning Mapper. Image Credit: Lockheed Martin

January 12, 2015 – All six instruments that will fly on the NOAA’s Geostationary Operational Satellite – R (GOES-R) satellite have now completed integration onto the spacecraft. The satellite’s instrument suite will be used to observe the sun and space weather including coronal mass ejections, solar flares and ion fluxes that can disrupt power grids, communication and navigation systems and create radiation hazards.

The instruments are: the Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI), the Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM), the Space Environment In-Situ Suite (SEISS), the Extreme Ultraviolet and X-ray Irradiance Sensors (EXIS), the Solar Ultraviolet Imager (SUVI) and the Magnetometer.

CU-Boulder’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) built the Solar Ultraviolet Imager (SUVI) and a second instrument, the Extreme Ultraviolet and X-ray Irradiance Sensors (EXIS). LASP is providing four flight models of the EXIS instrument for the GOES series (R, S, T, & U).

Lockheed Martin Space Systems Corporation of Littleton is the prime contractor. Lockheed Martin also designed and built the Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM), the final instrument to be integrated. The GLM will enable early predictions of intensifying storms and severe weather events.

“The completion of the instruments integration marks another critical step in the development of the GOES-R satellite as we look forward to launch in March 2016,” said Greg Mandt, NOAA’s GOES-R System Program Director at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “We are now focusing our efforts on the environmental testing phase, the next step for the GOES-R spacecraft, to ensure the satellite is prepared to withstand the rigors of launch and operation in the extreme environment of space.”

Together, the six instruments on GOES-R will offer significant improvements for the observation of both terrestrial weather and space weather that have an impact on life on Earth. The GOES-R series satellites will offer enhanced hurricane track and intensity forecasts, increased severe weather warning lead time, improved solar flare warnings for communications and navigation disruptions, better data for long-term climate variability studies, improved aviation flight route planning, and better monitoring of space weather to improve geomagnetic storm forecasting.

The GOES-R series will be more advanced than the current GOES fleet. The satellites are expected to more than double the clarity of today’s GOES imagery and provide more atmospheric observations than current capabilities with more frequent images.

“We’re very excited about the new channels and higher resolution of the ABI, which will help NOAA’s Hurricane Center (NHC) monitor tropical cyclones. The data also have the potential to improve track forecasts when they’re included in numerical models,” said James Franklin, branch chief, Hurricane Specialist Unit, NHC. “We also think GLM could help us better anticipate tropical cyclone rapid intensification periods. These new instruments on GOES-R represent a vast potential for future improvements.”

The advanced spacecraft and instrument technology on the GOES-R series satellites will result in more timely and accurate weather forecasts. It will improve support for the detection and observations of meteorological phenomena and directly affect public safety, protection of property, and ultimately, economic health and development. The GOES-R series satellites will provide images of weather patterns and severe storms as frequently as every 30 seconds, which will contribute to more accurate and reliable weather forecasts and severe weather alerts.

“Future GOES-R imagery, combined with its new lightning measurements, will provide NOAA Storm Prediction Center (SPC) forecasters with unprecedented observations of developing severe storms,” said SPC Director Russell Schneider. “This will increase the accuracy of our warning messages for communities across the United States.”

With the GOES-R satellite on track for launch in March 2016, development for the following GOES-S satellite is also executing on schedule. Two instruments, ABI and EXIS, are already complete and work on the spacecraft is well underway as the satellite moves towards launch in the 3rd Quarter of FY2017. The SEISS and SUVI instruments for GOES-S are scheduled for completion in 2015.

NOAA manages the GOES-R Series Program through an integrated NOAA-NASA program office, located at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources.