As many of you know, I was invited by NASA to attend the launch event today (as press) of the newest GOES-S weather satellite, which will become GOES-17 once commissioned. This trip was made possible by the generous donations of WUWT readers, for which I’m very grateful.
I had been on Twitter all during launch day about it @wattsupwiththat You’ll find some additional tidbits there. The Atlas-V carrying the satellite successfully launched at 5:02pm ET, to provide researchers, meteorologists and the public with faster, more accurate weather data. And let me tell you, that’s the truth.
There’s a tremendous amount I learned and witnessed, which I’ll write up in the days ahead. But for now, here’s the launch from 3.5 miles away via my Nikon Coolpix 900, all hand held video. BTW, That Nikon Coolpix 900 has a fantastic built in zoom of 83x, and I bought it a couple of years ago at the suggestion of Dr. Roy Spencer. Truly the best camera I’ve ever owned for photographing anything in the sky. There’s an artifact in the video that happened at the last minute I didn’t know about until afterwards. I must have bumped into another person, because the lens had a faint dab of sunscreen on it, and that made the lens flare effect. Overall, I’m still happy with it.
Video by Anthony Watts
And afterwards, the exhaust trail:
The second in a series of four next-generation weather satellites is now in geosynchronous transfer orbit above the Earth. NOAA’s Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-S (GOES-S) launched on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket at 5:02 p.m. EST from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
There were no weather constraints at the time of rocket liftoff.
“It was a chamber of commerce day,” said NASA Launch Director Tim Dunn. “We’ve been working on GOES-S for about 15 months. This is a huge year for the Launch Services Program.”
GOES-S separated from the United Launch Alliance Centaur upper stage at 8:34 p.m. EST, followed shortly afterward by mission manager confirmation that the spacecraft’s Stage 1 solar array successfully deployed and the spacecraft was operating on its own power.
When it reaches geostationary orbit 22,300 miles above Earth, in approximately two weeks, it will be renamed GOES-17. It is the second in the GOES-R Series of weather satellites that includes GOES-16 (formerly GOES-R), along with -S, -T and -U. When the satellite is declared operational, late this year, it will occupy NOAA’s GOES-West position and provide faster, more accurate data for tracking wildfires, tropical cyclones, fog and other storm systems and hazards that threaten the western United States, including Hawaii and Alaska, Mexico, Central America and the Pacific Ocean, all the way to New Zealand. More information about NOAA’s GOES satellites is available at https://www.nasa.gov/content/goes.
Added: here are some photos from the day before, where I was given access right up to the gate of launch pad 41:
The control center: