Powerful weather satellite ready to launch for hurricane-hunting duty

by | Jun 25, 2024 | Science

A hurricane-tracking GOES weather satellite, the final member of a four-satellite fleet at the heart of an $11 billion upgrade to the nation’s forecasting infrastructure, is poised for a late-afternoon launch Tuesday atop a powerful SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket.”NOAA’s geostationary satellites are an indispensable tool for protecting the United States and the one billion people who live and work in the Americas,” said Pam Sullivan, GOES program director. “They provide a constant real-time view of weather and dangerous environmental phenomena across the Western hemisphere.”A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket carrying a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration GOES weather satellite sits atop historic pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center awaiting blastoff Tuesday afternoon, weather permitting. / Credit: Adam Bernstein/Spaceflight NowAppropriately enough, perhaps, the primary obstacle to launch of the latest Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite — GOES-U — is the same sort of weather it was built to observe. Forecasters predicted a 70% chance of late afternoon cloud buildups and storms in Florida that could prevent takeoff during the rocket’s two-hour launch window.But if the weather cooperates, the Falcon Heavy will thunder away from historic pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center at 5:16 p.m. EDT, propelled by more than 5 million pounds of thrust from the 27 engines at the base of three strapped-together first stage boosters.After helping push the rocket out of the dense lower atmosphere, the two side boosters are expected to separate, reverse course and fly back to dramatic side-by-side landings at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station while the central core state continues the climb to space.A minute-and-a-half after the side boosters separate — four minutes after liftoff — the core stage will drop away, breaking up as it falls to the Atlantic Ocean below.The single Merlin engine powering the rocket’s second stage was programmed to fire three times over the next four-and-a-half hours to reach …

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[mwai_chat context=”Let’s have a discussion about this article:nnA hurricane-tracking GOES weather satellite, the final member of a four-satellite fleet at the heart of an $11 billion upgrade to the nation’s forecasting infrastructure, is poised for a late-afternoon launch Tuesday atop a powerful SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket.”NOAA’s geostationary satellites are an indispensable tool for protecting the United States and the one billion people who live and work in the Americas,” said Pam Sullivan, GOES program director. “They provide a constant real-time view of weather and dangerous environmental phenomena across the Western hemisphere.”A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket carrying a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration GOES weather satellite sits atop historic pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center awaiting blastoff Tuesday afternoon, weather permitting. / Credit: Adam Bernstein/Spaceflight NowAppropriately enough, perhaps, the primary obstacle to launch of the latest Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite — GOES-U — is the same sort of weather it was built to observe. Forecasters predicted a 70% chance of late afternoon cloud buildups and storms in Florida that could prevent takeoff during the rocket’s two-hour launch window.But if the weather cooperates, the Falcon Heavy will thunder away from historic pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center at 5:16 p.m. EDT, propelled by more than 5 million pounds of thrust from the 27 engines at the base of three strapped-together first stage boosters.After helping push the rocket out of the dense lower atmosphere, the two side boosters are expected to separate, reverse course and fly back to dramatic side-by-side landings at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station while the central core state continues the climb to space.A minute-and-a-half after the side boosters separate — four minutes after liftoff — the core stage will drop away, breaking up as it falls to the Atlantic Ocean below.The single Merlin engine powering the rocket’s second stage was programmed to fire three times over the next four-and-a-half hours to reach …nnDiscussion:nn” ai_name=”RocketNews AI: ” start_sentence=”Can I tell you more about this article?” text_input_placeholder=”Type ‘Yes'”]
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