NOAA’s GOES-U completes thermal vacuum testing


NOAA's GOES-U completes thermal vacuum testing

GOES-U is lowered into the heat vacuum chamber. Credit: Lockheed Martin

NOAA’s GOES-U, the last satellite in the GOES-R series of advanced geostationary environmental satellites, recently completed thermal vacuum testing (TVAC) as part of a rigorous evaluation program to ensure the satellite can withstand the harsh conditions of launch and orbit around 22 , 236 miles. above the Earth’s equator. Tests are taking place at Lockheed Martin Space Corporation’s Littleton, Colorado, facility, where GOES-U is built.

GOES-R is a program Collaborative effort between NOAA and NASA. NASA builds and launches satellites for NOAA, which operates them and distributes their data to users around the world. Satellites provide important data for weather prediction warnings, detection and monitoring environmental hazard Such as fire, smoke, fog, volcanic ash, dust and surveillance solar activity and space weather.

During TVAC testing, GOES-U was placed in a large 29-foot by 65-foot room and exposed to a wide range of temperatures, going up to 188 degrees Fahrenheit and going down to minus 67 degrees Fahrenheit, to simulate the extreme temperatures of the launch and the space environment. The fully integrated GOES-U system Satellites It passed four TVAC cycles, thoroughly testing the spacecraft bus and all seven instruments.

Next, GOES-U will undergo a vibration test, which simulates the stresses it will experience during launch, to ensure that the satellite structure is designed and built to successfully deliver the instruments into orbit. GOES-U will also endure an extremely high acoustic pressure of 138.4 dB from the high-intensity horns during acoustic testing, which will simulate the noise GOES-U will experience during launch. Shock testing will ensure that the satellite can withstand the shocks it experiences while detached from the launch vehicle and deploying the solar panels. finally, electromagnetic interference/ Compatibility testing will ensure Electromagnetic radiation In space you will not damage the satellite.

At specific points during environmental testing, the mission operations support team conducts comprehensive satellite control tests from the ground system. These comprehensive tests (ETE) verify compatibility of flight and ground hardware, software, and communications interfaces in the context of mission operations. Two GOES-U ETE exams have been completed, and the team will conduct three additional ETE exams in 2023 and 2024.

GOES-U will continue the advanced imaging, lightning mapping and space weather observations of its sister satellites in the GOES-R series and will also carry a new space weather observation instrument.

Compact Coronagraph (CCOR) will image a solar corona (the outermost layer of the Sun’s atmosphere) to help detect and characterize coronal mass ejections (CMEs). CMEs are large ejections of plasma from the corona and are the primary cause of geomagnetic storms, which can cause widespread damage to Earth’s power grids, satellites, and communications and navigation systems.

GOES-U, the last satellite in the GOES-R series, is scheduled to launch in April 2024 from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. The GOES-19 satellite will be renamed once it arrives geostationary orbitapproximately two weeks after launch.

The GOES-R program is a four-satellite mission that includes GOES-R (GOES-16, launched in 2016), GOES-S (GOES-17, launched in 2018), GOES-T (GOES -18, launched in 2022) and GOES-U.

The GOES-R series satellites are scheduled to be operational in the 2030s. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA have begun work on the next generation of geostationary missions called the GeoXO. GeoXO will continue the observations provided by GOES-R and bring new capabilities to deal with our changing planet and the evolving needs of NOAA data users.

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