NOAA’s Next-Gen Weather Satellite, Built By Lockheed Martin, Moves Closer To Launch

GOES-T is seen here in its Lockheed Martin clean room in Colorado, following a solar array deployment test. (Credit: Lockheed Martin)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla., Nov. 10, 2021 (Lockheed Martin PR) – Today, the next-generation Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES)-T successfully arrived at Kennedy Space Center, Florida, to begin launch preparations. It is the third of four satellites in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s GOES-R weather satellite series built by Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] in Littleton, Colorado.

GOES-T will help NOAA provide forecasters in the U.S. and western hemisphere with sharper, more defined images of severe storms, hurricanes, wildfires and other weather hazards.

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NOAA GeoXO Program Formally Initiated

Credit: NOAA

SILVER SPRING, Md. (NOAA PR) — NOAA’s next-generation geostationary satellite program, Geostationary Extended Observations (GeoXO), was formally initiated on November 9, 2021. GeoXO will now enter the program definition phase of development.

During the program definition phase, the GeoXO team will refine mission requirements, detail acquisition strategies, schedules, cost estimates, resource planning, and risk management, and confirm technology readiness.

GeoXO, as proposed, is a ground-breaking mission that will advance whole Earth System observations from geostationary orbit. GeoXO will supply vital information to address major environmental challenges of the future in support of U.S. weather, ocean, and climate operations. As NOAA’s next generation of geostationary satellites, the GeoXO mission will continue and expand observations provided by the GOES-R Series.

NOAA is working to ensure these critical observations are in place by the early 2030s as the GOES-R Series nears the end of its operational lifetime.

Vice President Harris Visits NASA to See Vital Climate Science Work

Vice President Kamala Harris shares her enthusiasm, alongside Goddard Center Director Dennis Andrucyk and NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, for the results of current satellite missions using Goddard’s Hyperwall on Nov. 5, 2021, at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. The Hyperwall visualizes Earth Science data for better understanding. (Credits: NASA/Taylor Mickal)

GREENBELT, Md. (NASA PR) — The urgency of Earth science and climate studies took the spotlight Friday as Vice President Kamala Harris visited NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. The vice president received a firsthand look at how the nation’s space program studies climate change and provides crucial information to understand our planet’s changes and their impacts on our lives.

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NOAA’s GOES-T Launch Date Shifts to Feb. 16, 2022

GOES-T is lowered into the thermal vacuum chamber. (Credit: Lockheed Martin)

SILVER SPRING, Md. (NOAA PR) — NOAA and NASA are now targeting Feb. 16, 2022, for the launch of the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite T (GOES-T) mission. The launch was previously planned for Jan. 8, 2022. Changes to launch dates in missions scheduled ahead of GOES-T prompted NASA, NOAA, and United Launch Alliance (ULA) to coordinate the new target date to optimize launch schedules for missions flying from Space Launch Complex-41.

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NASA Awards Launch Services Contract for GOES-U Mission to SpaceX

A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket carrying 24 satellites as part of the Department of Defense’s Space Test Program-2 (STP-2) mission launches from Launch Complex 39A, Tuesday, June 25, 2019 at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (Credit: NASA)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA has selected Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) of Hawthorne, California, to provide launch services for the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-U (GOES-U) mission. GOES-U will provide advanced imagery and atmospheric measurements of Earth’s weather, oceans, and environment, as well as real-time mapping of total lightning activity and improved monitoring of solar activity and space weather.

The total cost for NASA to launch GOES-U is approximately $152.5 million, which includes the launch service and other mission-related costs.

The GOES-U mission is targeted to launch in April 2024 on a Falcon Heavy rocket from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. GOES-U is the fourth and final spacecraft in the GOES-R Series of geostationary weather satellites operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The GOES-R Series is a joint effort between NASA and NOAA and includes GOES-R, GOES-S, GOES-T, and GOES-U.

NASA’s Launch Services Program at Kennedy Space Center in Florida is responsible for launch vehicle program management of the SpaceX launch service. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages the GOES-R Flight Projects office, which oversees the acquisition of the GOES-R series instruments and spacecraft. A collaborative NOAA and NASA team manages the GOES-R Program.

For more information about the GOES satellite network, visit:

www.nasa.gov/goes

NASA Selects Geostationary and Extended Orbits Imager Phase A Contracts

Hurricane Humberto (Credit: NOAA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has selected L3Harris Technologies Inc. of Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Raytheon Company of El Segundo, California, for the Geostationary and Extended Orbits (GEO-XO) Imager (GXI) Phase A Study contracts. The GXI Phase A Study requirement will provide services to help meet the objectives of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) GEO-XO program.

The total value of each of these one-year firm-fixed price contracts is approximately $6M. The work will be performed at the contractors’ facilities in Indiana and California.

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L3Harris Selected for Future U.S. Weather Satellite Imager Design Phase Study

  • Continues development of next-generation weather imagers concept
  • Leverages proven, high-maturity technology to provide low-risk solution
  • Provides a capability leap for future weather forecasting

MELBOURNE, Fla., April 5, 2021 (L3Harris Technologies PR) — NASA has selected L3Harris Technologies (NYSE:LHX) to develop a concept for the next generation of geostationary weather imagers which will help advance future severe storm tracking, weather forecasting, climate and other Earth observations.

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NOAA’s GOES-T Weather Satellite Completes Critical Testing in Preparation for December 2021 Launch

DENVER (NOAA PR) — NOAA’s GOES-T, the third in a series of advanced geostationary weather satellites, recently completed rigorous testing to ensure it can withstand the harsh conditions of launch and orbiting in space 22,236 miles above Earth.

During thermal vacuum testing, GOES-T was placed in a large 29 feet x 65 feet chamber and subjected to a vast range of temperatures, soaring as high as 188 degrees Fahrenheit (87 degrees Celsius) and dropping as low as minus 67 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 55 degrees Celsius) to simulate the extreme temperatures of launch and the space environment.

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Congress Approves Boost for Office of Space Commerce, Funding for Weather Satellites

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Congress approved a budget boost for the Office of Space Commerce (OSC) as it gears up to oversee civilian space traffic management (STM) and space situational awareness (SSA).

Congress provided OSC with $10 million and approved its plan with the merge with the Office of Commercial Remote Sensing Regulatory Affairs in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 approved on Monday. The amount is $5.9 million above the total the two offices received fiscal year 2020.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross had wanted to elevate OSC into a bureau that would report directly to him. However, Congress elected to keep the office within the National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service (NESDIS).

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NOAA Takes Next Step Toward New Ideas for Future Satellites

An advanced meteorological satellite (Credit: NOAA)

WASHINGTON (NOAA PR) — NOAA has completed a review of the many responses from two Broad Agency Announcements, or BAAs, seeking fresh ideas for new instrument technologies and concepts for future use on its next-generation geostationary, extended orbit, and polar-orbiting weather satellites.

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Trump Administration Proposes Deep Cuts to NOAA Budget

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The Trump Administration is proposing a 13.57 percent reduction in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) budget for fiscal year (FY) 2021, according to budget documents.

The $4.63 billion proposal would cut NOAA spending by $727.64 million below the FY 2020 budget. Although key satellite and commercial data purchasing programs would received increases, dozens of other programs would see their funding reduced or eliminated completely.

NOAA’s climate change research programs would be reduced by more than half from $169.5 million to $83.2 million. President Donald Trump has called global warming a hoax invented by the Chinese government to destroy the American economy.

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Report: NOAA Errors Led to Diminished Weather Satellites

GOES-17 satellite during processing by Astrotech. (Credit: NASA)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

NOAA’s poor management of the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites-R (GOES-R) program has resulted in less accurate meteorological data from the GOES-16 and GOES-17 weather satellites now in orbit, according to an audit by the Commerce Department’s Office of Inspector General (IG). [Full Report]

NOAA’s failure to properly address an overheating problem discovered during ground testing in 2017 led to the degraded performance of GOES-17’s main instrument, the Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI). The GOES-16 satellite, which was already in orbit at the time, is also suffering from overheating of its ABI to a lesser degree, the report found.

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NOAA, FAA AST Space Programs Get Funding Boosts

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Last week, we took a look at the significant increase in NASA’s budget for FY 2019. In this story, we will examine the budget increases for the Commerce Department — which manages the nation’s weather satellites — and the Department of Transportation, which oversees commercial launches. We will also take a look how the White House’s National Space Council fared.

Commerce Department

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

NOAA’s satellite programs received $1,45 billion, which is an increase of $55 million over FY 2018. The bulk of the funding is designated for the GOES-R,  Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) and Polar Follow-on (PFO) programs. The amounts include:

  • JPSS: $548 million
  • GOES-R: $408.4 million
  • PFO: $330 million

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Senate Appropriators Reject Trump’s Cut to Weather Satellite Budget

The Senate Appropriations Committee has rejected a proposal by the Trump Administration for a significant funding in a key NOAA weather satellite program.

Senate appropriators have provided $419 million for the Polar Follow-on (PFO) program for fiscal year 2018 (FY 2018). The program is aimed on developing two Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) spacecraft to follow two already funded JPSS satellites.  The JPSS-1 satellite is scheduled for launch later this year.

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