NASA Awards SpaceX Contract To Launch The GOES-U Earth Observatory With A Powerful Falcon Heavy Rocket

Evelyn Arevalo by Evelyn Arevalo September 10, 2021

NASA Awards SpaceX Contract To Launch The GOES-U Earth Observatory With A Powerful Falcon Heavy Rocket

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.

All Featured Images Source: SpaceX & NASA





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