Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES)-O represents a continuation of the newest generation of environmental satellites built by Boeing for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) under the technical guidance and project management of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD. GOES satellites provide the familiar weather pictures seen on many United States television newscasts every day. The GOES imaging and sounding instruments (built by ITT) feature flexible scans for small-scale area viewing in regions of the visible and infrared spectrum allowing meteorologists to improve short-term forecasts. GOES provides nearly continuous imaging and sounding, which allow forecasters to better measure changes in atmospheric temperature and moisture distributions and hence increase the accuracy of their forecasts. GOES environmental information is used for a host of applications, including weather monitoring and prediction models, ocean temperatures and moisture locations, climate studies, cryosphere (ice, snow, glaciers) detection and extent, land temperatures and crop conditions, and hazards detection. The GOES-O&P Imagers have improved resolution in the 13 micrometer channel from 8 km to 4 km. The finer spatial resolution allows an improved cloud-top product, height of atmospheric motion vectors and volcanic ash detection. GOES-O continues the improved image navigation and registration, additional power and fuel lifetime capability, space weather, solar x-ray imaging, search and rescue, and communication services as provided on GOES-13.
On January 28, 1998, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) awarded a contract to Hughes Space and Communications (now Boeing), in El Segundo, California, for the manufacture, launch and delivery on-orbit of up to four advanced environmental monitoring Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES) and delivery of associated ground system elements. The procurement of the GOES-N series was an extension of a program designed to primarily provide continuous monitoring of the Earth’s weather systems and the near earth space environment. The new spacecraft of the GOES-N Series will be used to continue and enhance the environmental monitoring and communications functions of the GOES-I thru M (GOES-8 thru 12) series of NOAA operational spacecraft.
The basic contract provides for two spacecraft, GOES-N & O. NOAA decided to only exercise the option for a third GOES-P satellite with all three using the expendable launch vehicle Delta IV (4,2) with two solids for additional on orbit fuel savings. The first satellite, GOES-N (now called GOES-13 in orbit) was successfully commercially launched by Boeing, with a Federal Aviation Administration launch license on May 24, 2006. GOES-O will carry government furnished ITT built Imager and Sounder instruments to provide regular measurements of the Earth’s atmosphere, cloud cover, ocean temperatures, and land surfaces. GOES-O has a government furnished Solar X-ray Imager built by Lockheed Martin of Palo Alto, CA. Space Environment Monitor instruments were part of the Boeing spacecraft contract and were built by Science Applications International Corporation (built the magnetometers) in Columbia, Maryland, and Assurance Technology Corporation (formerly GE Panametrics) in Carlisle, Massachusetts. Assurance Technology built the high energy, electron, and proton particle sensors and the new extreme ultraviolet solar monitoring instrument. Significant portions of the GOES-NOP Series satellite support ground system are provided by Integral Systems, Inc., of Lanham, Maryland.
In 2006, the GOES-O spacecraft completed construction and spacecraft level thermal-vacuum testing. GOES-O will be shipped to Cape Canaveral by a USAF C-17 aircraft on March 2, 2009, and will be processed at the Astrotech Space Operations, Inc. facility in Titusville, Florida starting on March 3, 2009. GOES-O will be processed for launch similar to how GOES-N was. GOES-N was transported to the Delta IV Space launch Complex 37 and hoisted and mated to the Delta IV as shown in the photo gallery images at this web site.
The multimission GOES-NOP Series of satellites will be a vital contributor to weather, solar, and space operations and future science improvements with weather prediction and remote sensing. The GOES-NOP Series will aid severe storm warnings, resource management, search and rescue, emergency managers, and likely lead to additional advances in environmental sciences and multifaceted data applications of remotely sensed phenomena. GOES-NOP data will add to the global climate change databases of knowledge, embracing many civil and government environmental forecasting organizations that work to benefit people everywhere and help save lives every day.
An advanced attitude control system using star trackers, a spacecraft optical bench, and improved Imager and Sounder mountings provides enhanced instrument pointing performance for improved image navigation and registration to better locate severe storms and other events important to the NOAA National Weather Service and all of us. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) and the NOAA National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service (NESDIS) have set a higher standard of location accuracy for the GOES-NOP series, including data picture element (pixel) location to approximately two kilometers from geosynchronous orbit of about 35,780 km (22,233 miles) above the Earth’s surface. For more information on the GOES-13 improvements to image navigation and registration (INR) being achieved please refer to the paper at the following web site: http://ams.confex.com/ams/pdfpapers/135921.pdf. The paper reports that GOES-13 image navigation and registration performance is “more than 100% improved over the previous generation of GOES satellites and very close to next generation (GOES R) performance specifications”. A movie loop comparison between GOES-12 and GOES-13 is found at the web site: http://cimss.ssec.wisc.edu/blog/archives/date/2006/12. A comparison there of visible channel images centered over northeastern Minnesota on December 25, 2006, shows the improvement in navigation accuracy with the new GOES-13 satellite. Surface features (such as frozen/snow-covered interior lakes, and the Lake Superior shoreline) appear to have significantly less image-to-image movement on GOES-13 versus GOES-12. This improved navigation will allow for better accuracy of satellite products such as satellite derived winds or atmospheric motion vectors.
The GOES-NOP enhanced INR quality of service is further improved by the integrated systems ability to operate through eclipses and improved recovery after station-keeping maneuvers and yaw flips. GOES-13 Imager and Sounder NOAA science testing was conducted in 2006 and a NESDIS Technical Report is available from the following web site: http://rammb.cira.colostate.edu/projects/goes_n/.
GOES-P is in ground storage at Boeing, in El Segundo, California and will undergo a second thermal vacuum test in the year ahead.
GOES-P should be ready for an April 2010 launch.