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NASA selects Space Exploration Technologies for launching GOES-U Mission

NASA has selected Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) to award the contract regarding launch services for the GOES-U Mission. The Geostationary Operational Environmental satellite-U mission of NASA will provide advanced imagery, atmospheric measurements of Earth’s weather, oceans, and environment, along with real-time mapping of total lightning activity and proper monitoring of solar activity and space weather.  

The total cost of the NASA GOES-U Mission is estimated at about $152.5 million. Launch service or other mission-related costs will be included in the GOES-U Mission. The mission is directed to launch in April 2024 on Falcon Heavy Rocket from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. 

GOES-U will be the fourth and final spacecraft in the GOES-R Series of geostationary weather satellites. The GOES-R Series is a joint effort of the US National Oceanic and atmospheric administration which further also includes GOES-R, GOES-S, GOES-T, and GOES-U. These highly capable weather satellites are 22,336 miles above the planet’s surface. In other words, eye earth from geostationary orbits (35,785 kilometers).

In July NASA picked SpaceX to launch a spacecraft to Jupiter moon Europa. The data also showed that SpaceX has secured a contract from rocket company Astrobotic to send a new water-hunting rover to the moon unexplored Southpole. 

GOES-T Satellite, the third and penultimate satellite in the series is expected to launch in January 2022. If the following launch and orbit checkout becomes successful GOES-T would become NOAA’s Operational GOES west satellite.
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