NASA awarded SpaceX a contract to launch the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-U (GOES-U) with a powerful Falcon Heavy rocket. GOES-U is an Earth observatory equipped to monitor and provide data about our planet’s weather, including severe-storm tracking, mapping in real-time of lightning activity, and meteorology research. The satellite will also provide NASA with advanced images of Earth’s surface. “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 agency said in a press release.
SpaceX will launch the satellite sometime in April of 2024 atop Falcon Heavy from the John F. Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex-39A in Florida. As of today, SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy is the world’s most powerful operational rocket, composed of three Falcon 9 nine-engine cores whose 27 Merlin engines generate over 5 million pounds upon liftoff. The rocket will insert the satellite into a geostationary orbit, where it will remain in the same position with respect to the rotating Earth. This orbit will allow GOES-U to hover over one position on our planet’s surface to enable scientists to have constant vigil of weather events from a particular region.
“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 agency states. “The GOES-R Series is a joint effort between NASA and NOAA and includes GOES-R, GOES-S, GOES-T, and GOES-U.” NOAA uses these satellites to monitor and forecast potentially dangerous weather phenomena.
NASA has selected Falcon Heavy to launch GOES-U in 2024! This next-generation satellite operated by @NOAA will support weather forecasting, severe storm tracking, and meteorology research → https://t.co/SDXI8vne6X pic.twitter.com/AQUAd0bB5g— SpaceX (@SpaceX) September 10, 2021
All Featured Images Source: SpaceX & NASA