Once operational, the GOES-R satellite is expected to improve dramatically the quality and speed of Earth imagery available to the space agency and NOAA, a Commerce Department agency that issues daily weather forecasts, severe storm warnings and climate-monitoring alerts.
The Atlas V lifted off at 6:42 p.m. EST Nov. 19 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, employing four solid rocket boosters and a single-engine Centaur upper stage.
GOES-R was expected to reach its designated orbit roughly 3 1/2 hours after launch. The satellite will orbit 22,300 miles above the equator as it monitors U.S. weather conditions.
Also Nov. 19, three new crewmembers reached the International Space Station. That makes for a full six-person crew aboard the orbiting space lab.
On Nov. 21, Orbital ATK’s unmanned Cygnus cargo ship, which has been docked at the ISS since Oct. 16, is set to undock. Just hours after undocking, the Cygnus will conduct a controlled-fire test in its interior, then on Nov. 25 will release four data-collection CubeSats from an external deployer before entering the Earth’s atmosphere and disintegrating on Nov. 28.