In the Astrotech payload processing facility in Titusville, Fla., technicians monitor the second half of the payload fairing as it is moved toward the GOES-O satellite to complete encapsulation. The fairing is a molded structure that fits flush with the outside surface of the rocket and forms an aerodynamically smooth nose cone, protecting the spacecraft during launch and ascent. The latest Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite, GOES-O was developed by NASA for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA. The GOES satellites continuously provide observations of 60 percent of the Earth including the continental United States, providing weather monitoring and forecast operations as well as a continuous and reliable stream of environmental information and severe weather warnings. Once in orbit, GOES-O will be designated GOES-14, and NASA will provide on-orbit checkout and then transfer operational responsibility to NOAA. The GOES-O satellite is targeted to launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Launch Complex 37 on April 28 onboard a United Launch Alliance Delta IV expendable launch vehicle.
Photo credit: NASA/Dimitri Gerondidakis
April 7, 2009
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