NOAA's New Weather Satellite Arrived in Florida Onboard Air Force's Largest Airliner

Lockheed Martin GOES-T Satellite loaded onto C-5 Galaxy aircraft 6 photos
Photo: Lockheed Martin
GOES-T satellite lift to thermal vacuum chamberGOES-T in acoustic chamberGOES-T loaded onto the C-5 Galaxy aircraftGOES-T loaded onto the C-5 Galaxy aircraftGOES-T weather satellite clean room
Lockheed Martin’s new weather satellite, GOES-T, hitched a ride onboard Air Force’s largest airlifter, to travel to Florida, its launch destination.
The GOES-T (Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite) is the next-gen weather satellite in Lockheed Martin’s GOES-R series, built by the manufacturer for the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). It is meant to keep an eye on our planet, particularly the Western Hemisphere, to be more precise.

With an expected lifespan of 15 years, the satellite is the size of a small school bus and has been assembled by Lockheed Martin in Colorado. However, the GOES-T is scheduled for launch in Florida at the beginning of next year, so it was recently transported to the Kennedy Space Center, where it will start its launch preparations.

And it wasn’t just any kind of ride, but one on board Air Force’s very own C-5 Galaxy, its largest and only strategic airliner, capable of transporting cargo on longer distances than any other aircraft. This behemoth of a flying machine has a payload of up to five helicopters, so carrying a satellite the size of a school bus in it was a joyride.

The GOES-T was first safely “packed” to keep all its state-of-the-art instruments protected during the flight. It was enclosed in a shipping container, which, according to Lockheed Martin, functioned as the satellite's own miniature cleanroom environment. It was then loaded onto the C-5.

Thanks to its advanced technology, the GOES-T will be able to provide the NOAA with sharper, more defined images of all kinds of weather hazards (such as hurricanes, wildfires, severe storms, etc.) occurring in the U.S. and the Western Hemisphere in general. It will even be able to offer information on the strength of storms, thanks to the lightning mapper built by Lockheed Martin, which the manufacturer boasts as being the first-of-its-kind.

Mapping tropical storms and hurricanes in the Pacific Ocean will also be part of its tasks, and it will also support NOAA’s SARSAT (Search and Rescue Satellite-Aided Tracking) system.

The GOES-T weather satellite is scheduled to launch from Florida on February 16, 2022.
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About the author: Cristina Mircea
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Cristina’s always found writing more comfortable to do than speaking, which is why she chose print over broadcast media in college. When she’s not typing, she also loves riding non-motorized two-wheelers, going on hikes with her dog, and rocking her electric guitars.
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