NOAA's GOES-U completes vacuum thermal testing

NOAA’s GOES-U completes vacuum thermal testing

GOES-U is lowered into the thermal vacuum chamber. Photo credit: Lockheed Martin

NOAA’s GOES-U, the final satellite in the GOES-R series of advanced environmental geostationary 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 a 22,236 miles withstands above the earth’s equator. Testing is taking place at Lockheed Martin Space’s facility in Littleton, Colorado, where GOES-U was built.

The GOES-R program is a joint effort between NOAA and NASA. NASA builds and launches the satellites for NOAA, which operates them and distributes their data to users worldwide. The satellites provide critical data for weather forecasts and alerts, detect and monitor environmental hazards such as fire, smoke, fog, volcanic ash and dust, and monitor solar activity and space weather.

During TVAC testing, GOES-U was placed in a large 29-foot by 65-foot chamber and subjected to a variety of temperatures ranging as high as 188 degrees Fahrenheit and down to minus 67 degrees Fahrenheit to simulate the extreme temperatures of Launch and the space environment. The fully integrated GOES-U satellite underwent four TVAC cycles, thoroughly testing the spacecraft’s bus and all seven instruments.

Next, GOES-U will undergo vibration tests that mimic the stresses it will experience during launch to ensure the satellite’s structure was designed and built to successfully deliver the instruments into orbit. GOES-U will also withstand an extremely high sound pressure level of 138.4 decibels during acoustic testing from high-intensity horns that simulate the noise GOES-U will experience during launch. Vibration tests will ensure that the satellite can withstand the vibrations experienced during separation from the launch vehicle and deployment of its solar panels. Finally, electromagnetic interference/compatibility tests will ensure that electromagnetic radiation in space does not damage the satellite.

At certain points during environmental testing, the Mission Operations Support Team conducts end-to-end testing that controls the satellite from the ground system. These end-to-end (ETE) tests validate the compatibility of flight and ground hardware, software and communication interfaces as part of mission operations. Two GOES-U ETE tests have been completed and the team will conduct three more ETE tests in 2023 and 2024.

GOES-U will continue the advanced imaging, flash mapping and space weather monitoring offered by its sister GOES-R series satellites and will also carry a new space weather monitoring instrument.

The Compact Coronagraph (CCOR) will image the solar corona (the outer layer of the solar atmosphere) to help detect and characterize coronal mass ejections (CMEs). Large ejections of plasma from the corona, CMEs are the main cause of geomagnetic storms that can cause widespread damage to power grids, satellites, and communications and navigation systems on Earth.

GOES-U, the final satellite in the GOES-R series, is scheduled for launch in April 2024 from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. The satellite will be renamed GOES-19 once it reaches geostationary orbit about two weeks after launch.

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

The GOES-R series satellites are expected to be in service until the 2030s. NOAA and NASA have started work on the next-generation geostationary mission called Geostationary Extended Observations (GeoXO). GeoXO will continue the observations provided by GOES-R and bring new capabilities to meet our changing planet and the evolving needs of NOAA’s data users.

Quote: NOAA’s GOES-U Completes Thermal Vacuum Tests (2022, November 22), retrieved November 22, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-11-noaa-goes-u-thermal-vacuum.html

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