WRAL WeatherCenter Blog

GOES-R rolls out to the launch pad

Posted November 18

Friday was rollout day for GOES-R. Stacked atop an Atlas V rocket in the adjacent 286-foot-tall Vertical Integration Facility (VIF) several weeks ago, the satellite, rocket and mobile launch platform made the third-of-a-mile trek along two sets of rails at a snail's pace from the VIF to the launch pad.

Several support vehicles accompanied the rocket and launch platform as well, each riding on those same rails.

The Payload Support Van is a converted semi-trailer van which provides communications between the GOES-R satellite, the launch pad, and Atlas V Spaceflight Operations Center (ASOC), as well as uninterruptible power to the spacecraft and any computer or other equipment needed to support this specific launch.

To protect the spacecraft from moisture buildup in the humid Florida air, the Environmental Control System (ECS) maintains a constant temperature and humidity inside the payload fairing. This van is also capable of providing gaseous Nitrogen to further rid the spacecraft of moisture.

GOES-R path

The launch window from Space Launch Complex (SLC)-41 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station opens Saturday at 5:42 p.m. EST.

SLC-41 has launched Atlas V rockets exclusively since its renovation in 2002. SLC-41 has been undergoing more renovations since the summer to enable its use for human spaceflight as well.

A 42-foot-long swing arm arrived at the site in August. It will be mounted atop a new 200-foot-tall crew access tower.

Boeing’s Starliner crew capsules are schedule to make the first crewed test flight to the International Space Station atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V in early 2018.

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