GOES-T, soon to be GOES-18, was successfully launched on March 1, 2022, at 4:38 p.m. EST from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida aboard an Atlas V 541 rocket. It was United Launch Alliance’s 149th mission, the 38th for Launch Services Program, and the 92nd launch of Atlas V.
The Atlas V 541 rocket, fitted with four side-mounted solid rocket boosters, will deliver GOES-T into an optimized geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO) three-and-a-half hours after liftoff.
The satellite will operate 22,236 miles (36,000 km) above Earth to cover the western half of the continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii, Mexico, Central America, and surrounding Pacific Ocean waters. It will replace GOES-17 (launched as GOES-S) as the GOES-West observatory, working in tandem with GOES-16 (launched as GOES-R) in the GOES-East location that covers the Eastern U.S., Caribbean, and Atlantic.
Key Dates to look for:
Launch: March 1, 2022
Post-Launch Checkout Part 1 at 89.5 W: Starts March 24, 2022
Drift to 136.8 W: May 16 – June 6, 2022
Post-Launch Checkout Part 2 at 136.8 W: Starts June 7, 2022
Interleaving GOES-18 ABI through GOES-17 GRB: August 1 – September 6, 2022
Instrument and product tests: September 6 – December 12, 2022
GOES-West Operations Declaration January 3, 2023
GOES-18 Nominal Distribution at 137.2° W January 11-12, 2023
The “First Light” imagery is expected to be released at Launch + 71 days.
HRIT and GNC-A Imagery and data is expected to be available at Launch + 207
GRB Imagery HRIT and GNC-A Imagery and data is expected to be available at Launch + 290
POST LAUNCH TESTING
For a detailed step-by-step look at the process of Post Launch Testing, refer to the following.