Expendable Launch Vehicle Status Report
The third in a series of the most sophisticated weather satellites ever built, soared into space this morning during a picture-perfect launch from Cape Canaveral Air Station, Fla. The third Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES)-K, lifted off at 1:49 a.m. EDT on an Atlas-Centaur rocket. Twenty-nine minutes later, the spacecraft separated from the Centaur stage. At approximately 3:10 a.m., controllers successfully deployed the outer panel of the solar array, becoming power positive.
"We're off to a good start," said Marty Davis, GOES project manager at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. "The spacecraft is now in the transfer orbit and all data indicate we have a healthy spacecraft.
"The next two weeks will be spent moving into geostationary orbit and performing deployment of instruments. Then, we will begin our detailed checkout," he said.
Throughout the next 14 days, controllers are scheduled to perform several apogee motor firings and adjusting maneuvers, culminating with the satellite arriving in a geosynchronous orbit 22,240 miles (35,788 km) above the Earth's equator at 105 degrees West Longitude.
The first of several burns to move the satellite into its final orbit will begin late Saturday night, when controllers perform the first apogee motor firing, lasting for 54 minutes. The second firing is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon, April 29, and will last for 30 minutes. The third and final apogee motor firing is scheduled for Thursday, May 1, and will last for approximately 6 minutes.
Status reports are available at: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/kennedy/launchingrockets/status/index.html
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