United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V rocket will deploy an advanced weather satellite for the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Thursday. The mission to deploy the GOES-S satellite will begin with liftoff from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station during a two-hour window that opens at 17:02 Eastern Time (22:02 UTC).
GOES-S is the second of four satellites making up the fifth generation of the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) program, a series of spacecraft that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) uses to provide continuous monitoring of weather conditions in the United States and across the western hemisphere. At any time, the GOES constellation consists of two operational satellites in geostationary orbit, plus a number of spares.
GOES complements NOAA’s polar orbit satellites – such as the JPSS-1 satellite (since renamed NOAA-20) that launched last November. The Polar orbit satellites make brief passes over much of the Earth’s surface, while from their geostationary orbits high above the equator, GOES spacecraft constantly observe the same disc of the planet. The two operational satellites are stationed at 75 and 137 degrees West – slots designated GOES-EAST and GOES-WEST respectively.
The satellite occupying GOES-EAST is responsible for monitoring the eastern United ...